Varosha, once known as the Las Vegas of the Middle East with its beaches, hotels and entertainment venues, was closed to settlement as a military zone after the Cyprus Operation in 1974.
With the partial opening of Varosha in October 2020, more than 800,000 people visited the region.
Famagusta Mayor İsmail Arter stated that they opened two beaches and a tea garden in the region adding that his municipality provided all the services that should be in a city.
“Entries here are prohibited in order to prevent any interference with the property of the Greeks,” Arter explained.
“This devastated condition of the city is due to the fact that it has not been used for 46 years, rather than the buildings destroyed in the war,” he added.
Reminding that after the partial opening, 3.5 percent of the city was removed from military administration status and transferred to civilian administration status, Arter said that Varosha is a pilot area.
“Our projects related to road, water, electricity and asphalting works are ready. The city will start coming to life from this area,” Arter noted.
Pointing out that both communities are quite pleased with the opening of Varosha, Arter said that especially Greek people have expectations about returning to their buildings.
“After the opening, many applications were made to the immovable property commission. There are about 500 structures in the 3.5-percent region. So far, 98 people have applied to the commission for these,” the mayor explained.
Arter noted that according to the immovable property commission legislation, exchange, return and compensation of the buildings are possible.
“But we found out that the Greeks from the south have a desire to come and live here,” he added.