Famagusta, Cyprus

Famagusta, Cyprus

Famagusta is as old as the world. At one time it was the residence of Richard the Lionheart and until 1974 it remained the main tourist center of Cyprus. In 1974, the Turks invaded Famagusta and left no stone unturned here. The elite district of Varosha, where Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and other stars liked to spend time, turned into a ghost town surrounded by a fence. There are legends around the city that clothes that were fashionable 40 years ago are still hanging in the shops of Varosha, but this, of course, is not true – everything was looted in the very first days. See citypopulationreview.com for weather information.

This city literally breathes history, with ancient buildings, cathedrals, ancient public baths and other carefully guarded ruins everywhere. And next to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas grows a fig tree. Planted at the time of laying the foundation (in 1298), it still pleases the eye with green crowns.

How to get there

Every half an hour from the capital of the country, Nicosia, Itimat buses leave for Famagusta. Travel time is about 1 hour.

Transport in the city

It is most convenient to travel around Famagusta by rented car: bus service in the city is very irregular. Another option is to travel by taxi, while it is better to agree on the price in advance. However, the city can be easily explored on foot: the distances there are short. True, tourists should be careful not to enter special quarantine zones controlled by the Turkish army or UN troops.

Famagusta Hotels

In the city itself and its suburbs, you can find both excellent 5 * level establishments, for example, Kaya Artemis Resort & Casino and Palm Beach Hotel, as well as more budget options, for example, “kopeck piece” in the city center, as well as two bungalow complexes on the seashore – Long Beach Club Resort and Kocaries Holiday Village. See also the complete list of Famagusta hotels.

Shopping and markets

Famagusta has a rich selection of clothing, gift and homeware stores. Most of them are located along Salamis Road. In the old town (within the city walls) there are nice souvenir shops where you can find Cypriot homemade souvenirs such as lacework.

Cuisine and restaurants

There are restaurants in both the old and the new city. In the historical center, they are located mainly near Namık Kemal Square. For example, D&B Cafe offers excellent pizza and kebabs. If you like Turkish cuisine in general and kebabs in particular, visit the Aspava cafe, which is located across the street from D&B Cafe. The recently opened Ginko Restaurant (occupies the building of a former madrasah – an Ottoman school), offers a very interesting menu. Monk’s Inn Bistro & Bar offers delicious sandwiches and a quick bite to eat.

In a modern city, restaurants should be looked for in the Salamis Road area. This is where most of the bars are located. You can also spend a pleasant evening and drink a cocktail or two in the Famagusta Quayside area (near the Palm Beach Hotel). There are a lot of cozy bars where both locals and tourists like to spend time.

Entertainment and attractions of Famagusta

The old city of Famagusta is surrounded by some of the best preserved Venetian fortifications in the world, and inside the walls are many medieval and Renaissance buildings. The city turned into a full-fledged fortress in 1562, when the walls were radically rebuilt and strengthened. The height of the walls reached 15-17 meters, and the length was about 3.6 kilometers.

Two gates led to the fortress: sea (from the side of the port) and land (from the side of the road to Nicosia). A deep channel was created around the walls, lined with stone, which was filled with sea water. What made the fortress inaccessible not only from the sea, but also from land.

Inside the citadel

Old ground gates lead to the vast courtyard of the citadel, where there are fragments of Venetian coats of arms, stone cannonballs, old bronze cannons. From the platforms of the Othello Tower, one of the best panoramic platforms in the city, there is an excellent view of the port, which is always lively and noisy. From here you can also see the sea gate, over which the Venetian coat of arms is installed.

Inside the fortress, the most famous monuments are the Gothic Cathedral of St. Nicholas (during the Ottoman conquests converted into the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque) and the Greek Church of St. George with wonderful frescoes. Buildings of one or another historical value are located here literally on every corner.

Another noteworthy attraction is the palace of the Venetian governor Giovanni Reviera and the square with a magnificent marble Roman sarcophagus, ancient cannons and antique statues. Also, don’t forget to visit Othello’s castle, the story described by Shakespeare took place here.

Ramparts of Famagusta

For a panoramic tour of the old city, go to the Ravelin Bastion, located on one of the tops of the fortress. At the beginning of the ascent to the bastion is the post office building, built in 1618. Once, one of the first Koranic madrasah schools in Cyprus was located here.

The Jambulata Bastion can be found on the southern wall of Famagusta. Previously, a Venetian arsenal was located inside the bastion, after the capitulation of the city, an officer of the Turkish army Kilisa Beiji Dzhambulat, one of the bravest warriors of Northern Cyprus, was buried here. Today, the bastion houses the Dzhambulat Museum, where you can see interesting antiques: weapons, Turkish costumes and ceramics dating back to the siege period. Particular attention should be paid to a detailed copy of the Venetian plan for the siege of the city.


A 10-minute drive from the city of Famagusta is the ancient city of Salamis with its well-preserved amphitheater, baths and ancient basilicas, it was here that the Apostle Mark and the Apostle Barnabas preached. Not far from Salamis is the monastery of the Apostle Barnabas, the founder of Christianity in Cyprus. His tomb is located in a small chapel 100 meters from the monastery.

Famagusta, Cyprus