Varosha, Cyprus

Our world is littered with abandoned “sites’, for the most part archeological treasures worthy of scientific scrutiny. Ancient riddles, often without reference points or defined origins – physical evidence void of mainstream historical pigeon holing, Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids – well known tourist meccas, not entirely understood yet duly noted on historical timelines. Puma Punku, Gobekli Tepe – never so much as whispered in classrooms, despite irrefutable scientific proof they blast historical timelines to smithereens.

Pondering “sites” led to this conclusion – we dismiss anything we haven’t been taught in school (with tendencies to peg the unfamiliar as bat shit dribble), embrace familiar lessons as definitive truth, and never bother to consider modern “sites” as something with historical value. In short – the very old and relatively new – completely overlooked in favor of predictably dusty bedtime stories.

I’ll concede – ancient, ancient history, the history responsible for my passionate enthusiasm towards civilization lost may be hard to swallow. I see the eyes roll, the blank stares as you say “how interesting”, knowing full well it means “she’s run off the rails”. I don’t hold it against you.. We live in a world where absolutes are comforting, skepticism greets new information, and mainstream (textbook history) rules supreme.

All history is relevant – if we can’t wrap our heads around the distant past, how about looking at something easier to fathom. The world is littered with surreal “sites”, created within the last 100 years – places we can explain yet choose to ignore.

Varosha, Cyprus comes to mind. Famagusta was an exotic resort destination on the island of Cyprus. The Varosha district, a playground for the rich and famous until 1974 when Turkey took exception to a Greek coup, invading and dividing the island into a Greek south and Turkish occupied north. Thousands of residents fled the city, they never had a chance to come back. Turkish army enclosed Varosha in barbed wire – 40 years later, uninhabited, utterly forsaken, beyond repair. A “petrified urban museum, enclosed, boarded up, frozen in time”.

Varosha, Cyprus is is an archeological site, a place of historic importance. Our one advantage – we know who, how and why it became a “site”. We possess absolute, irrefutable knowledge yet it languishes in the realm of inconsequential. The tough work is done – we don’t have to squabble over who built it or why it was abandoned. Places like this fit politely into historical timelines – few outside the immediate region have ever heard of it. Much like the Prora Hotel…

We should alter our thinking to include such places in historical mindsets. Nothing would make me happier than hearing an enlightened educator used them to ignite classroom discussion. Sigh.




9 thoughts on “Varosha, Cyprus

  1. Truly mind boggling!
    I have a dear friend who now lives in Paphos, where he was born. He was living in South Africa when the invasion of the island took place and avoided all the trouble.
    he never mentioned this place.
    Great post.
    Thank you.

  2. As to why has this area not been re-opened and re-used — I’m sure $$$$$ (money, not DOLLARS) is at the heart — Can’t imagine the cost of demolition and reconstruction!

    There are such examples of human folly around the globe. And sometimes among us, unseen. My grand-kid is into URBEXing — Urban Exploring. She goes drain/sewer diving, wandering around in abandoned buildings (specially the likes of abandoned hospitals and sanitariums) and there is urban detritus all over the place when you begin looking.

    Abandoned amusement parks are not all that UN-common here in the U.S. And building projects that got cut off at the metaphorical knees because of financing or political change or … well… stupidity.

    It would be nice of these sort of events, I guess you could call them, had some impact on society, but most of the time ‘we’ seem not to care about them. I have been thinking for some years about the way in which Canada and the U.S. have a luxury that many other nations do not enjoy. We possess excess property: real estate. We have not yet populated our nations as, say, India or China, or even Europe where you have no choice but to build and repair and rebuild because there is no other place to go. Here, we have the luxury of thinking that we’ll never run out of unspoiled land and that we can turn a blind eye to our failures.

    And that Turkey should not care — and invade and neglect — well…. what does it matter to the Turks what happens ‘over there’ ???

    Always something to ponder…. 🙂

      • I’m glad your trying, but I’m not sure how much success you’ll have. So many people don’t want to be informed about things that make them re-examine their beliefs or their comforts.
        Continue the crusade by all means, but steel yourself for the long haul..
        I don’t know if you are on FaceBook or not, but there’s an interesting page there on the National Park’s Response to Global Climate Change and today they posted this — which left me gobsmacked:

        A recent snowstorm brought nearly 3 feet of snow near Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, and road crews are still working hard on opening the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Large June snowstorms like this one used to be more common in the northern Rockies, but average snowpacks have been in decline. Indeed, while Glacier National Park had 150 glaciers in the mid-1800s, there are now just 25. (Tree ring studies show that today’s annual average snowpack is less than any time over at least the last 1,000 years.) This pattern shows no sign of reversing, as May 2014 was the hottest May on record worldwide:

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