Varosha: Rare Photos from Inside Cyprus’ ‘Ghost City’

varosha (All images (unless stated) reproduced with the permission of Sometimes Interesting)

One of several ghost cities of Eurasia, the abandoned resort of Varosha in Famagusta was once north Cyprus’ most exclusive tourist destination frequented by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Brigitte Bardot. But since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the Varosha quarter has been abandoned, its hotels, restaurants and highrise structures slowly decaying amid the ruins of this once thriving millionaires’ playground. In this incredible series of photographs courtesy of Sometimes Interesting, we take a rare trip beyond the fence.

Keep reading – Explore 20 Haunting Ghost Towns of the World




Highlighted in Alan Weisman‘s book The World Without Us as an example of the relentless and unstoppable power of nature, Varosha is now considered to be beyond repair. Any potential future development would require the site to be leveled, as aging infrastructure and decades of neglect have seen the structures begin to collapse.





Elsewhere in the former tourist quarter, clothes still hang in the closets of long abandoned buildings and a car dealership remains fully stocked with now-vintage 1974 model vehicles.





Meanwhile, some highrise structures remain relatively intact while others are little more than crumbling skeletal relics of Famagusta‘s most exclusive hotels.

Varosha before the 1974 Invasion


These historic photographs show Varosha in its heyday, boasting crowded beaches, seaside bars and swimmers enjoying the pleasant temperatures of the eastern Mediterranean. The scene is a far cry from the ‘ghost city’ of today.

Also Abandoned – Nicosia International Airport

nicosia-airport (Images: (1, 2, 3) Dickelbers; Cyprus Gallery, cc-sa-3.0)

Once the main airport serving the island of Cyprus, Nicosia International Airport has also been abandoned since the 1974 Turkish invasion. Principally the headquarters of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, the commercial flight terminal and solitary passenger jet have suffered almost 40 years of decay.

Subscribe to our RSS feed and email alerts, or connect via Twitter and Facebook.


Around the web

  • io

    thanks for the pics but you refer to “Northern Cyprus’ most exclusive tourist destination” there is no such thing as Northern Cyprus. Would make sense if you change this to Cyprus.

  • Tom

    Thanks for your comment io, and I take what you’re saying on-board since Northern Cyprus is a self-declared state otherwise considered an occupied territory. My apologies if the article was misleading on this point.

  • Marina Parisinou

    More to the point, the time when Varosha was a “most exclusive tourist destination”, was before the division of Cyprus. So the concept of Northern Cyprus, whether recognised or otherwise, did not exist.

    Also further down, a mispelling of Cyprus: “the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cypress”.

    Regardless, thank you for posting these images. They certainly paint a vivid picture of the fate of this city.

  • Tom

    Marina, thanks for pointing out the spelling error and our apologies for that. It’s now fixed!

  • John Liozeris

    Is this region occupied by Turks? Muslims? Both?

  • AnonyÓðinn

    This place looks sooooo tempting to run off to and start a micronation, or just an individual adventure of solitude and monkishness.

  • imusintheevening

    Wow, so exclusive no one has vacationed there for 40 years!

Become an Urban Ghosts Contributor!

Most Recent


Top Lists