Forty-six years after it was forbidden to the general public, the ghost town of Varosha in Cyprus may be reopened once again to attract tourists from around the globe, just like in its prime years. By Amitha Ameen

 

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Once upon a time or more precisely in 1974, the now forbidden town of Varosha on the east coast of the Mediterranean island was home to 25,000 residents. During the ’70s the resort town was frequented by the rich and famous, including bigwigs like Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Richard Burton, and Brigitte Bardot, and was often dubbed as the ‘French Riviera of Cyprus.’

But that was before tensions grew between Turkey and the Greek government, that eventually forced the islands’ Greek Cypriots, who once lived in Varosha, flee from the advancing Turkish forces, thereby resulting in the division of Cyprus in 1974.

 

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While the Greek Cypriots live in the south, the Turkish Cypriot government runs the northern part of the island. A 1984 UN security resolution prohibited any resettlement, so the only people now allowed to legally enter the area are the UN and Turkish military.

But all of that may soon change as the abandoned ghost town in Cyprus hopes to once again attract tourists, after, Ersin Tatar, Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TNRC), has hinted on plans to reopen the restricted area to the public.

 

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“Varosha is most definitely going to be opened. The tide has shifted, a new page has been turned. Northern Cyprus will become stronger by opening Varosha to tourism,” Tatar was quoted as saying by Reuters.

While Tatar gave no specific timeline for the reopening, he hopes that the revival of Varosha with its many abandoned buildings that include plush hotels, swanky residences, and churches will attract a lot of trade and tourism benefits for the region.

Related: Cyprus Will Cover Medical Costs Of Tourists Infected With Coronavirus