Famagusta… a ghost town
Famagusta was occupied by the Turkish troops on the 16th August 1974. It was looted and then sealed off, and it remains inaccessible to everyone since. The term “ghost town” is attributed to the Sweedish reporter Jan Olof Bengston, who, upon visiting his country’s contingent in the UNFICYP, went to the port of Famagusta and, on seeing the sealed-off town, reported to the newspaper Kvallsponter on the 24th Sept. 2007: “The asphalted roads are full of cracks and there are bushes coming out of the pavements. Up to this day (Sept. 1977), the breakfast tables are still there, the laundry still hanging and the electric bulbs are still on. Famagusta is a ghost town”
Paralimni is the largest community of the rich valley of the Famagusta region. It is located on the south-eastern part of Cyprus, a spot from where one can enjoy the earliest sunrise of Europe. Paralimni became a municipality in 1986 and has since been the largest municipality of the free Famagusta area.
It owes its name to the nearby lake (Limni) which is among the protected natural habitats of NATURA 200 Network. Paralimni population is 15.000. In addition to the commercial/ housing area, Paralimni includes a coastal tourist zone, called Protaras, with sandy beaches, clear seawater and many hotel complexes.
Ayia Napa Municipality
Ayia Napa is a small town of Cyprus in the Famagusta region, located to the East of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. It is an autonomous municipality since 1986. Ayia Napa is a most popular tourist destination, due to its sandy beaches. It is named after the Monastery by the same name, which, during Venetian times was located in the centre of the town. The name itself (Ayia Napa) translates into “Holy Forest”. The area was named after the holy Icon of Virgin Mary of Napa, i.e. the Saint of the Forest.
Embraced by the Famagusta bay, on the East Coast of Cyprus, next to the then cosmopolitan town of Evagoras (Famagusta), lays the beautiful town of Dheryneia. Its distance from Famagusta town is a mere 5 km. It is just 2 km away from its sandy beaches with crystal-clear water, but the barbed wire of Attila stands between the town and both nearby Famagusta town, and its coast. Seventy percent of the municipal area is occupied and all inhabitants of that area are deprived of their property.
The population of Dheryneia is around 7.500. This number includes 1.000 refugees living in the refugee settlement area, but does not include the 3.000 refugees from “Kato Dheryneia”, who now live scattered all over Cyprus, or abroad, like the rest of Cypriot refugees.
Despite the negative implications of the Turkish invasion that have hindered the economic and commercial development of the town, Dheryneia has developed to a great extend, thanks to the progressive and laborious nature of its citizens, as well as to the efforts of the local authorities and organized groups.
Dheryneia inhabitants are mostly employed in agriculture, the tourist industry of Ayia Napa and Protaras, trade, processing and cottage industry.
Sotera is a large village of the Famagusta region, inhabited by Greek Cypriots. It is among the Kokkinochoria (Red-soil villages) region, about 10 km south of Famagusta town. Sotera is the third biggest settlement among the towns and communities of the Famagusta region.
During the 2011 Census, 2968 housing units have been accounted for, 1714 of which have permanent residences, while 1254 are unoccupied or of temporary occupancy. The total number of counted households during the Census were 1718.
The increase of population after 1974 is largely attributed to the inflow of a good number of Greek Cypriot refugees to the village, who have settled there, most of them coming from the town of Famagusta.
In 1966, four water-enriching dams were constructed in the area of Sotera, totaling a 32.000 m3 water capacity.
Judging by Sotera’s name, it is considered that the village was established during the Byzantine years. It was referred to by the same name during the the Louizinian era. Mas Latri refers to the settlement of Sotera as property owned by the Crown. The name Sotera can be found on old maps. Legend has it that there was an old settlement near the coastal area of Ayia Thekla, which, following a pirates assault, was forced to move towards a safer area, hence its present location. The new village was named Sotera, to mark the settlers’ salvation from the attack. According to another legend, the village is named after the church of Metamorphosis of the Soter, built during the 12th Century by the Byzantines.