Rethinking Varosha

Led by Mete Hatay

Jan 2019 –


Prior to 1974, the port city of Famagusta, Cyprus, was home to one of the most glamorous beach resorts in the world, the suburb of Varosha. With the island's division in 1974, approximately 35,000 Greek Cypriots from this resort area fled from north to south. Varosha was abandoned and soon would be surrounded by barbed wire and occupied by Turkish troops. For forty years, it has been held as a bargaining chip in negotiations, while the once-glittering hotels have crumbled. Recently, however, the Turkish Cypriot administration announced that it would inventory Varosha in anticipation of opening it to resettlement, provoking protests in the island's south.

This project assesses the various proposed frameworks for opening the city and provides an overview of efforts to imagine its revitalization. Over the past few years, Turkish Cypriots living in Famagusta had already joined with displaced Greek Cypriots to demand the opening of Varosha under UN supervision.  Bi-communal citizens' initiatives grew, and urban planners and architects began to imagine reviving the city. Moreover, various frameworks for opening the city are currently on the table, all of which have differing implications in terms of how they will impact the Cyprus conflict. The project assesses the various plans and prospects for the city's opening, as well as their potential impacts on resolution of the Cyprus conflict.

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