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Famagusta makes a comeback

Famagusta, or Magusa in Turkish, was once the main Cyprus holiday destination for thousands of tourists. But the Turkish invasion changed all that overnight. The booming tourist industry came to an untimely end and Famagusta today has turned into a quiet holiday backwater. Famagusta lies to the north-east of Cyprus and since 1974 has been occupied by Turkish forces.

The golden sand beaches near Famagusta town were known as the Cyprus Riviera, packed with luxury hotels and the jewel in the crown of the Cyprus holidays industry.

Recent years have seen the steady resurgence of Famagusta as a top tourist vacation resort, although nothing as yet on the scale of its earlier days.

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Famagusta Salamis05

The main beach in Famagusta town remains sealed off and hotels lie empty and derelict, just as they stood in 1974.

But beaches north of the town and around the ancient city of Salamis have reopened and grown into popular holiday destinations.

Historically, the long, broad sweep of Famagusta Bay and parts of the inland Mesaoria plain are the most important areas of Cyprus, home to the mighty kingdom of Salamis and the bronze age city of Enkomi.

The old Venetian city of Famagusta itself, with its many churches, has been likened to an open-air museum.

Further north, the wilderness of the Karpas peninsula has some of Cyprus' most magnificent beaches, many undeveloped and all stunningly beautiful.

The long finger of the peninsula now has better roads yet it remains a timeless landscape of rolling hills, exquisite beaches and scattered hamlets.

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