Famagusta: transport, beaches, weather, photos, reviews
Greek Ammochostos, Turkish Gazimagus or simply Magus are all names for the same city located on the east coast of Crete. In the English version, this is the city of Famagusta. A few thousand years ago, the ancient settlement of Arsinoe appeared here. It was built by the decree of one of the Ptolemies, the monarchist dynasty of Egypt. The next famous person to visit Cyprus was King Richard the Lionheart. Sailing to the Holy Lands, he conquered the island along the way, declaring himself the new ruler.
Then for several centuries, Cyprus served as a transit point for the Crusaders, and settlers from Palestine arrived here. Famagusta was under the rule of the Genoese Republic, then passed to the Venetians. The city grew bigger and more beautiful. According to historians, Leonardo da Vinci was involved in designing streets. In the XVI century, Famagusta passed under the authority of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of the XIX century, Cyprus was officially declared a British colony. And only in the 60s after independence, the former settlement of Arsinoe began to grow and develop rapidly.
Famagusta is becoming one of the most popular resorts in Cyprus. Large traffic and passenger traffic went through the local port. Here was concentrated one-tenth of the total production on the island. In the 70s in the western part of the city built a new quarter — Vorosh, intended for wealthy tourists. But because of the events of 1974, this place was abandoned.
And today the once rich district stands empty and deserted. It is surrounded by wire and has a ban on visiting, even to journalists. For many years, the authorities of the two states have been trying to solve the Voroshe issue, but things are still there. And around the empty neighborhoods of the «ghost town» new hotels and cafes are being built.
Then in the 70s the city was divided into two parts. The main quarters are located on the territory of the unrecognized state of the TRNC, and the suburb of Ayia Napa, Protaras and other lands belong to the Republic of Cyprus.
Today, 50 thousand people live in the Turkish part of the city. The old district is surrounded by a stone wall, built in the XIV century. There are many old buildings, narrow streets and a large international university, where mostly foreign students study. The city port became the main sea gate of Northern Cyprus and the naval base of Great Britain. Here is the shipyard for the repair of ships. In addition to military and merchant ships, the port accepts pleasure and tourist ships.
According to the Cypriots, it was in Famagusta that the Venetian captain Othello, a Moor by origin, lived, whose history was described by Shakespeare. Here, and events occurred when a jealous husband killed his unfortunate wife, called by chance Desdemona. Tourists must show the castle, named after the famous Moor, as well as the eponymous museum, and the park named after the young Venetian.
Famagusta urban transport is represented by buses and fixed-route taxis, the so-called dolmushes. It is possible to rent a car. Public transport in the city runs quite freely. Despite the presence of a certain schedule, buses may be late.
Local taxi service provides cars brand Mercedes. On the roofs of cars installed a special sign on a yellow background. There are also minibuses of the brand Mercedes Vito or Viano for a group of passengers. Taxi ranks are located next to large stores, popular attractions, beaches.
There are in Famagusta and companies offering cars for rent. Usually these cars have red numbers so that the locals know and give way to such vehicles. The movement on the island is left-sided, but the basic rules are the same as generally accepted throughout the world. The situation on the roads is calm, as the locals for the most part do not violate traffic rules.
The national cuisine of Cyprus is famous throughout the Mediterranean coast. Since for several millennia many nations have been on the island, many of them have left their mark not only in the architecture of cities. Remind of the Romans, Genoese, Egyptians, Arabs, English local culinary traditions.
For example, macaroni and artichokes were brought from Venice, melons and other fruits were brought from the east, the Turks introduced coffee and spinach to residents. Turkish and Greek cuisines had a great influence on local traditions. Cypriot catering offers a large selection of meat and vegetable dishes, sweets, pastries, fruits and juices.
Restaurants and cafes are available both in the territory of the old city and in the new quarters. The DB Cafe is located in the center, where kebabs and pizza are perfectly prepared. For lovers of Turkish cuisine is open institution Aspava. Good reviews get Historia Restaurant Cafe, located next to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas. The choice of dishes here is large, and the prices are quite reasonable. The Monks Inn bar is popular with tourists and serves delicious cocktails. Near the old fortress there are about 20 points of catering, where you can find food to your taste and wallet.
Not far from Famagusta are wine companies. It is worth trying the local wines and spirits, among which the most famous are “Commandaria”, “Othello”, “Saint Panteleimon” and others.
Shops and markets
There are many different shops in Famagusta. And although boutiques of famous brands are not to be found here, there are Turkish-made clothes and shoes. Many outlets are located in the old town area. Souvenir shops are found here at almost every step.
There is a rich selection of handmade jugs depicting Greek gods, as well as modern ceramics of various types, copies of Phoenician, Mycenaean pottery made of clay, various icons, painted plates in the Turkish style, and more. Among the hand-made items, Cypriot lace from Lefkara is appreciated. Chalumi cheese and Cypriot wine in gift bottles are popular with tourists.
In Famagusta, there are shops with oriental carpets, including embroidered natural silk, woolen blankets «keel». Here you can also purchase carpet pillow cases and pillows made of carpet fabric, which used to be used on horses and camels. Local jewelry is a fusion of Oriental and ancient art.
After the island was divided into northern and southern parts, the most popular beaches of Famagusta remained in the buffer zone and in the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. But the TRNC also has enough well-developed coasts for rest and relaxation. The resort area begins in the suburbs of Famagusta and continues to the Karpas Peninsula. Long stretch stretch the local beaches, separated by isthmuses from each other. The sea is calm here, the water near the shore is always crystal clear and transparent. Recreation facilities are equipped: there are toilets, showers, umbrellas and sun beds, lifeguards are watching for the safety of tourists.
There is a sandy strip in the city itself. But due to the presence of the seaport, the city beach is one here, although there are places where local residents rest without order. But there is no equipment there. The rest of the beaches are located outside the city limits. There are both municipal and beaches belonging to large and small hotels.
Palm Beach (Palm Beach)
The only beach in the city is located near the territory of the Arkin Palm Beach Hotel. The hotel itself also occupies a piece of the local coast for its guests, and nearby there is a municipal free beach, which tourists call Palm Beach.
Perhaps local beauties would have caused associations with the same resort city in the United States, if not the nearby abandoned Vorosh district. A wire fence separating the tourist area from the ghost town also passes nearby. Behind the fence, guarded by Turkish soldiers, four kilometers to the buffer zone are hundreds of abandoned hotels.
But the current beach is safe, there are many cafes and restaurants around, and the neighboring hotel has good service and a strong reputation. Sandy beach with a gentle sunset into the sea.
The city beach Glapsides is one of the best places to relax in Famagusta. It is located 4 kilometers from the city, but has a fairly well-developed infrastructure. Near the beach there are bars and a restaurant, a small market, mini-market, night club. For a small fee, you can rent a sunbed and an umbrella for the whole day. There is a large bathroom, locker rooms. Nearby is a free parking lot.
The local coast is perfect for family holidays. Sunset in the water is flat, the bottom is even. Young people like to have fun here and at night, and tourists in their cars deploy camping.
Bediz Beach is located in a picturesque location 6 kilometers from Famagusta and not far from the village of Agios Sergios. You can get here by car in just a few minutes. A cafe and a restaurant are built on the coast, there is a picnic area. You can rent a sun lounger and umbrella.
There are rental catamarans and boats. The beach is not very big, but even in the summer season there are few people here. For vacationers equipped with a bathroom with shower and locker rooms, aside is located parking for transport. Not far from the beach are the ruins of the ancient city of Salamis, so after water treatments you can join the rich history of Cyprus.
Silver (Silver Beach)
Located 10 kilometers from Famagusta and not far from the ruins of the ancient city of Salamis, founded in the XI century BC. Some of the buildings eventually went under water, which makes these places attractive for scuba diving enthusiasts. It is possible to rent equipment for diving, water skiing or a catamaran, you can ride on a boat, to go on sea excursions.
The seabed here is gently sloping and safe, with umbrellas and sun beds stretching along the shore. Equipped with locker rooms and a bathroom. There is a small cafe. There is a medical worker on the beach, and lifeguards are watching the safety of the holidaymakers.
Long Beach (Long Beach)
Big Beach Long Beach is located next to the modern hotels. It stretches a long three-kilometer strip along the coast of the Gulf of Famagusta. The beach is popular with both foreign tourists and locals. It is known that there are sea turtles on the beach. The descent into the water is shallow, so it is convenient to swim here with small children.
The local infrastructure includes shops, restaurants, cafes, sports grounds with exercise equipment and a children’s area. For lovers of cycling special tracks are laid and there is a rental of two-wheeled transport. Distance from Famagusta — more than 10 kilometers.
The beach is located near the village of Cayirova. More recently, modern hotels and a good road have been built in this area. The coast here is clean and well maintained, there is a shop and a cafe, but there is no bathroom, and there are no dressing rooms. Parking is free.
The beaches of Famagusta offer a variety of activities, such as diving, surfing, water skiing, boat trips and more. These places were chosen by fans of fishing for the opportunity to hook their own dinner. As in any resort town, there are many restaurants, bars, nightclubs here. You can do and tasting local wines. One of the most popular entertainment centers Lionz Garden holds concerts, parties, various shows.
During the year there are many colorful festivals and festivals in Cyprus. For example, in May — June, an international festival of culture and the arts takes place here, music of different directions is played. Concerts are held in the preserved amphitheater of the ancient city of Salamis, the ruins of which are located on the shores of the Gulf of Famagusta. In summer, residents of the peninsula are invited to the theater festival. In late summer — early September, festivals are held in honor of the harvest.
The cities of Northern Cyprus do not yet have large entertainment centers, water parks and dolphinariums. But Famagusta is a real open-air museum. There are many historical sites that make up a worthy competition to the monuments of Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. The old district of the city is surrounded by ancient fortress walls built in the fourteenth century. They are well preserved to our time.
The old fortress has several large bastions, which were considered impregnable at one time. One of the towers of the citadel was named Othello. Residents of the city claim that it was here that served the captain, who became the prototype of the Shakespearean hero.
Several temples were built in Famagusta. For example, the church of St. Nicholas or the mosque of Lala Mustafa Pasha. True, this is the same building. The cathedral was built in the era of Lusignan. At one time, monarchs were ordained to rule in Jerusalem. In the 16th century, after the Turkish invasion, the cathedral was converted into a mosque and given the name of the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. In the center of Famagusta lies the desert region or the so-called ghost town of Vorosh, which after the events of 1974 and to this day remains uninhabited and abandoned.
Not far from Famagusta lie the ruins of the ancient city of Salamis, which was once the capital of Cyprus. Most of its buildings were built during Roman rule. To this day, remains of Roman baths, schools, a market square, the main street, a large amphitheater, and others have survived. To see all the remains of the city, it will take a whole day. Archaeological research has been going on here for many years, but even half of Salamis has not yet been studied.