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.



  • 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!

  • Arshin Carnifex

    You’d end up getting shot. The DMZ runs right through Famagusta and there are Turkish Army patrols everywhere.

  • Rande Hackmann

    Should let the African/Middle Eastern refugees have this to setup new lives.

  • No_Name12

    It is occupied territory, nor a buffer zone. You will be removed by the Turkish army. It has a barrack nearby.

  • Patrice Nagel

    Why should the African/Middle Eastern refuges have this place?? People have had their homes there. The things they left are in some cases still in their homes. They were told they could go back in a week to pick them up That was in 1974. Turks are famous for doing things like this. I am Armenian so I know what they are capable of


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