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Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus

Duration: 8 hours

Location: Famagusta

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Ghost town Famagusta by Red Bus


This special excursion in Cyprus is the First and Only tour around Cyprus brought to you by Aphrodite tours! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to see Famagusta city from the land and from the sea! We promise that this is one tour in Cyprus that is not devoid of surprises and amazing stories that will stretch your examination and make your heart race, as we unravel the mystique of the hitherto baffling city of Famagusta.

Famagusta is the capital of Famagusta District of the Republic of Cyprus. Located east of Nicosia and south of occupied by Turkish territory, this city has started to develop and the EU, along with USA, believes that it may finally be on its way back to being a world-class tourist destination. Aphrodite Tours will explain why such a beautiful city went into limbo a couple of decades ago as our guides take you around which was one of the finest places to see in Cyprus, and which is showing signs of emerging from the shrouds of mystique.

Famagusta has a fascinating history, having been the residence of Mycenaean Greeks in the Bronze Age, followed by the Assyrian, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Arab caliphates, the French Lusignan dynasty, the Venetians, the Ottomans and the British. A historical centre once packed to the rafters by eager tourists is gradually recovering from behind the rainbow. You will have a short stop in old city centre surrounded by Venetian fortifications, where you will have some free time for stretching your legs and acquainting yourself with the city centre, while your imagination tries to figure out how such a beautiful city went into the pale. The walled in sections of Famagusta contain many unique buildings. The city is also home to the Eastern Mediterranean University. Famagusta has a vibrant nightlife, which is not on our schedule. But it is one of the places to see in Cyprus.

Famagusta hosts a beautiful ghost township, called Varosha, frozen in time for 40 years now. Varosha had imperial status in the 1960s as the Riviera of the Middle East, with its crescent shaped white sand beach that enticed thousands tourists at a time from all over the world. Movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and others were regular visitors. Varosha was being developed by the Britishers in their time of occupation as a posh residential area, though it was mainly occupied by Greek Cypriots. But after the tragedy of 1974, all Greek Cypriots had to leave and Varosha, with its four star category was fenced off and left to decay. This is why Famagusta, the mother city, also lost public mention and faded from memory. Aphrodite Tours is doing its best to revive interest in Famagusta!

The French Lusignan dynasty ruled as Kings of Cyprus from 1190 to 1489 AD and had brought with them the latest French taste in architecture, notably developments in Gothic architecture. The Lusignans would be crowned as Kings of Cyprus in the St. Sophia Cathedral, now Selimiye Mosque in Nicosia, and then crowned as Kings of Jerusalem in the St. Nicolas Cathedral in Famagusta, shown left. Built between circa 1298 and 1400, it was consecrated as a Christian cathedral in 1328. The Cathedral was later known as the Ayasofya (Saint Sophia) Mosque of Magusa.

The cathedral was converted into The Lala Mustafa Pasha mosque after the Ottoman Empire captured Famagusta in 1571 and remains a mosque to this day. It is the largest medieval building in Famagusta. The building is constructed in a flamboyant Gothic style, quite rare outside France. The historic ties between France and Cyprus are evidenced by its parallels to French archetypes such as the Rheims cathedral. Indeed, resemblance is so strong, that the building has been dubbed ‘The Reims of Cyprus’. The building has three doors, twin towers over the aisles and a flat roof, typical of Crusader architecture. This is the religious part of our excursion to Famagusta.

This Aphrodite Tour will also take you to Othello Castle. The castle gets its name from Shakespeare's famous play Othello, which is set in a harbour town in Cyprus. It was built by the Lusignans in the 14th century in Famagusta to protect the port against possible enemy attacks. It was also used as the main entrance to Famagusta. It used to be called ‘the impenetrable fortress’ due to it being nearly impossible to attack because of very deep ditches surrounding it. The tower was sold by Cyprus to the Republic of Venice more than half a millennium ago, when it was submitted to restoration and the Lion of St Mark was engraved directly above the castle's main entrance, along with the name of the Venetian representative, one Captain Nicolo Foscari, and the year (1492). Towers are a prominent feature of the castle. The castle also has a refectory and a dormitory constructed during the Lusignan period. The castle's yard contains relics of its turbulent history: Cannon balls left behind by the Spaniards and Ottomans.

The land tour will be on a Red Bus, another signature of Cyprus. Aphrodite Tour’s excursions across Cyprus have been using a Red Bus for sightseeing tours to Famagusta. Red Bus trips are open top double deck tour buses, operating in Cyprus since 2008. You will feel Cyprus’ famous breeze rushing past, but you will also be exposed to the sun. After going through Famagusta by land, we will embark on a yacht under sails for yet another amazing trip, wherein we will sail past the ‘ghost city’ of Varosha, with its fabulous but untenanted and derelict white sand beaches.

The sun can be quite sharp on the skin when onboard a ship. Do carry protective gear like lotions, dark glasses, head gear, etc. Don’t forget to bring along your bathing suits, towels and footwear as the land under the sea could be rock-laden and sharp.

Note: PRESENCE OF FOREIGN PASSPORTS IS OBLIGATORY!

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Excellent Bus Tour. My husband and I booked seats on Aphrodite Tours to go on the Famagusta Day Trip as we have always been interested in what happened after the Turkish Invasion. This was like a dream come true. The nearest we got previously was seeing Famagusta from a boat. This trip was simply amazing. The guide was a walking encyclopedia. He told us things we never knew and showed us things we didn't think we would ever see. Highly recommended.

Katherine Nichipurenko
Red Bus Tour

The best bar in Aiya Napa! Great combination of everything you need! Can't wait to go back there and spice up my holiday! Once you go there it will make you repeat it again...and again. Great atmosphere and location, friendly staff, variety of good music...and ...soooo nice cocktails. I'm a Pepper fan for life and if you are in Napa, you must get addicted as well. Thank you ever so much, Aphrodite Tours for recommending this out of this world place.

Ivan Skornyakov
Grand Tour Jeep Safari

Excellent traditional food! We were introduced to this pub by Aphrodite Tours on a stopover during a daylong trip in December 2012. Had a great experience! This time too, we chose Aphrodite Tours for our excursions in Cyprus and fortunately, we were lucky to find this pub unchanged. The food was amazing, the place was great; it is also a non smoking zone inside. Cozy table next to the fire place. Fair prices, value for money, traditional home made wine; my husband went for delicious steaks but I recommend the traditional cuisine. The service was excellent both times. We must thank Aphrodite Tours for this trip.

Ades Smith
Village Pub, Kakopetria, Cyprus