I’m currently reading Alan Weisman’s excellent The World Without Us, a thought experiment that imagines what the Earth might look like if all of us humans instantly vanished. Weisman discusses the case study of Varosha, the tourist neighbourhood of Famagusta in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Varosha enjoyed a development boom in the late sixties and early seventies, with the usual beach front of hotels and restaurants. The region aspired to be a sort of Cypriot Riveria.
Things changed, though, with the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The Turks captured this part of Turkey, emptied out the population and sealed off Varosha. For the past 30-odd years, only Turkish military personnel and UN officials have visited the region. It’s an older, more Mediterranean Chernobyl.
I went looking for photos of the abandoned seaside town, and came up with these: