I head towards one of the big cities in Cyprus - Farmagusta. It used to be the centre of the Cyprus tourist industry in the early 70ties but after the war in 1974 the city were in the northern part of the city and the hotels of the city were all in the no-man’s land just outside of the town. Hence today the city is more or less of the beaten track of the tourist going to Cyprus but it is a strange old city with a lot of different sights inside and a huge Venetian wall surrounding the old city.
I get to the city and I would like to stay in a hotel within the walls. And I quickly find a hotel - which is closed - I feel a sudden déjà vu from my experience in Platres. I go on and find what seems like another hotel - which is also closed - great. Well inside the bar in the hotel building I meet somebody who tells me there is two hotels inside the old city this one and the one I came from - so much for the plan of staying within the walls.
One of the bastions of Famagusta walls
Fortunately there is a hotel just outside the walls of the city where I can stay and as an added bonus they say it will be cheap because it is low season. Well I sure believe the story about it being low season. I get out of the old city and get into the hotel which got a room - actually I think they got a lot of empty rooms.
Then it is time to have a closer look at the city. It is actually heavily marked by war - but not the recent war. When the Ottomans arrived at Cyprus in 1570 they first went for Nicosia and broke through the walls of that city to defacto end the Venetian rule - but in Famagusta the Venetians held out for a while after the defeat in the capital. Then the Ottomans came towards the city and laid siege to the city for 10 month - during which time they bomb the city and to this day there are several ruins inside the city of old churches which were destroy in the bombardment but never removed from the city. Hence walking around the city you will see one ruin after the other.
It is a bit late in the day by now hence I decide just to talk a short walk along the walls of the city and see a couple of the old churches. The wall is very well preserved around the city - it might actually be better preserved in some ways than the wall surrounding Lefkosia.
The main mosque again
There is a small fort which you can visit - that is if you come earlier in the day than me. So I just keep to the wall until I have enough of the wall and go into the city to look at the old church ruins. The main building inside the old city is a huge mosque build in the 13th century or around that area - this is a few centuries before the first Muslims arrived on Cyprus hence it was not really build as a mosque originally but as a giant church.
The old Gothic building actually looks nothing like a mosque at all - and if it wasn’t for the minaret on top you would have no clue about it being a mosque. The church/mosque is actually the main attraction in town and it seems like the small contingent of tourist in town is all joining up at this spot.
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