Photos of Gazimağusa (Famagusta), a walled city on the east coast, Cyprus

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Gazimağusa (Famagusta), a walled city on the east coast

Famagusta, in Turkish Gazimağusa or Mağusa and Greek Ammóchostos (Αμμόχωστος), is a harbour city on the east coast of Cyprus. It was its most important port during the Middle Ages, especially when the maritime republics of first Genoa and then Venice dominated the island.

View to the beach hotels of Famagusta
Agios Ioannis Church, Famagusta
Gazimağusa Şehitler Anıtı
Canbulat Bastion, Famagusta
Victory Monument, Famagusta
Zafer Anıtı, Famagusta
Land Gate, Venetian Walls, Famagusta
Bridge, City Walls, Famagusta
Stone work, City Walls, Famagusta
Akkule Mosque, Famagusta
View from Rivellino Bastion, Famagusta
View along Famagusta city walls
View from Famagusta city walls
Carmelites church, Martinengo Bastion
Carmelites church, Armenian church
Armenian  and Carmelites churches
Saint Anna Latin Church
Tanner's Mosque
Republic is Virtue monument
At the Underground Church
Saint George of the Latins Church
Saint George of the Latins Church
Othello Castle (Othello's Tower)
Lion of St Mark, Othello Castle
Great Hall, Othello Castle
In Othello Castle (Othello's Tower)
Famagusta harbour, Porta Del Mare
Famagusta town view
Cathedral of Saint Nicholas
Cathedral of Saint Nicholas
In the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas
In the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas
St. George Xorinos Nestorian Church
Twin Churches, Famagusta
Hospitaller Church, Famagusta
Venetian governor's palace
Venetian governor's palace
St Francis Church, Famagusta
Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
28 Mehmet Çelebi Sokak
Cafer Pasha Bath, Famagusta
Saint George of the Greeks Church
Saint George of the Greeks Church
View of Varosha
Palm Beach, Famagusta
Palm Beach to Varosha, Famagusta
Bay of south Famagusta
Osman Fazıl Polat Paşa mosque

The city was founded after the ancient city of Salamis was devastated by an earthquake around 274 BCE. It was named Arsinoe after the Greek Ptolemaic Queen Arsinoe of Egypt. Then, it became known as Ammóchostos (‘hidden in the sand’) that was pronounced as ‘Famagouste’ by the French Lusignans and ‘Famagosta’ by the Italians. The French Lusignans, during their rule of the Kingdom of Cyprus, developed the town and built the soaring churches, later turned into mosques or allowed to crumble.

The port was briefly seized from the Lusignans by the Genoans in 1372 but in 1489 came under Venetian rule. They built the city walls and modified the castle, that had been built in 1310 to protect the port against possible enemy attacks. It is now called Othello Castle, as it inspired Shakespeare to write his tragedy. The city was the last to fall under the onslaught of the Ottoman Empire and had to surrender in 1571.

Under the Ottomans, the Latins were expelled, and Greeks were banished from the walled city: they settled in what became the town of Varosha. The Cathedral of St. Nicholas was converted to a mosque (now known as Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque), and it became a Muslim Turkish city. During British rule, the Turkish aspect of the town declined, and Greeks became the majority. After independence, Famagusta developed towards the south, and Varosha became its administrative and tourist centre. It all ended on 14 August 1974 when the Turkish army invaded, and Famagusta was bombed by Turkish aircraft. The entire Greek population of the city had to flee; dozens of civilians, including tourists, died. Varosha was fenced off by the Turkish military and remains so today.