The Republic of Varosha is a resort city-state in south-eastern Europe, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Republic of Cyprus to the north, south and west.
During it's original life in the 70's, Famagusta was the number one tourist destination in Cyprus. To cater to the increasing number of tourists, many new high-rise buildings and hotels were constructed. During its heyday, Varosha was not only the number one tourist destination in Cyprus, but between 1970 and 1974, it was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and was a favourite destination of celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, and Brigitte Bardot.
Original Features Edit
The main features of Varosha included John F. Kennedy Avenue, a street which ran from close to the port of Famagusta, through Varosha and parallel to Glossa beach. Along JFK Avenue, there were many well known high rise hotels including the King George Hotel, The Asterias Hotel, The Grecian Hotel, The Florida Hotel, and The Argo Hotel which was the favourite hotel of Elizabeth Taylor. The Argo Hotel is located near the end of JFK Avenue, looking towards Protaras and Fig Tree Bay. Another major street in Varosha was Leonidas (Greek: Λεωνίδας), a major street that came off JFK Avenue and headed west towards Vienna Corner. Leonidas was a major shopping and leisure street in Varosha, consisting of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and a Toyota car dealership.
1974 to 2016 Edit
Prior to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the city of Varosha had a population of 39,000. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July 1974, the Greek Cypriot army withdrew its forces to Larnaca. The Turkish army advanced as far as the Green Line, which is the present day border between the two communities. Just hours before the Greek Cypriot and Turkish armies met in military combat on the streets of Famagusta, the entire population fled, fearing a massacre. Many refugees fled south to Paralimni, Dherynia, and Larnaca. Paralimni has since become the modern day capital of the Famagusta province.
When the Turkish Army gained control of the area during the invasion, they fenced it off and have since barred admittance to anyone except Turkish military and United Nations personnel. The people living in Varosha hoped to return to their home when the situation calmed down, but this ultimately amounted to nothing.
The UN Security Council Resolution 550 of 1984 ordered for Varosha to be handed over to the administration of the United Nations, and was to be resettled by no other people than the inhabitants who were forced out. The Turkish state did not comply, but has held Varosha as a "bargaining chip" ever since in the hope of persuading the people of Cyprus into accepting a settlement of the Cyprus issue on their terms.
One such settlement plan was the Annan Plan, which the vast majority of Greek Cypriots rejected as unfair. It provided for the return of Varosha to the original residents, but this never happened because the plan was rejected by Greek Cypriot voters in a referendum, as the overall plan was considered unacceptable. The UN Security Council Resolution 550 states that it "considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations". Since 1974, entry to the district was forbidden by Turkey with the exception of TSK personnel and the students of the girls' dormitory there.
The European Court of Human Rights awarded between €100,000 and €8,000,000 to eight Greek Cypriots for being deprived of their homes and properties as a result of the 1974 invasion. The case was filed jointly by businessman Constantinos Lordos and others, with the principal judgement in the Lordos case dating back to November 2010. The court ruled that, in the case of eight of the applicants, Turkey had violated Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human rights on the right of peaceful enjoyment of one's possessions, and in the case of seven of the applicants, Turkey had violated Article 8 on the right to respect for private and family life.
As nobody had inhabited the area and no repairs had been carried out, all of the buildings continued to fall apart. Nature was reclaiming the area, as metal corroded, windows broke, and plants worked their roots into the walls and pavement. Sea turtles were seen nesting on the deserted beaches.
2016 to presentEdit
In July 2016, the Japanese conglomerate Kabushiki Gaisha ABS bought Varosha from the Turkish government and the Turkish Armed Forces for a large sum of money, and began redeveloping it as a resort. However, by August, it was announced that Kabushiki Gaisha ABS decided to repeal its claim to the land, receiving a refund from Turkey in the process. Soon after, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was going to govern Varosha as a republic city-state (similar to Macau, Singapore, Monaco or Hong Kong). The new president was named as Tahire Aoi Kartal.
Varosha was initially not recognized as a country by the United Nations or any country, but soon was recognized after a few days, receiving recognition from 170 UN members, all of the Russian Federation, the international Roman revivalist and reconstructionist organization Nova Roma, and the unrecognized nations of Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, the State Kingdom of Marduk, Molossia, Sealand, Seborga, Lakotah, Palestine and Nagorno-Karabakh. Varosha was admitted to the UN a few weeks later.
The actual city that was bought from Turkey is known as the "City of Varosha" and the republic's capital, whilst the expanded radius of development outside of the pre-existing city limits is referred to as the "Greater Varosha Area".
In spite of abandoning its own Varoshan redevelopment project, ABS' company president Kenji Yukimura was given a street in his name by the new government. John F. Kennedy Avenue was renamed after him in August 2016, a rename which Kenji firmly states he had no influence on. ABS still has presence in Varosha through means of retail and restaurant chains.
The Government of Varosha has a co-operative travel agreement with Cyprus and Greece that allows for visa-free air and marine travel between Varosha, Cyprus and Greece, and borderless land crossings into, and out of, Cyprus.
Varosha is being redeveloped as a modern residential complex and resort city. Many high-rise condominiums are being built to accommodate new residents, as well as multiple hotel complexes for temporary guests. Roads are being repaved, and a brand-new underground expressway artery was built from Famagusta to the south end of the resort city, stretching southwards to Ayia Napa (the expressway's terminating point, with an interchange being built to send drivers directly to Varosha city center.
An overground metro line runs around the perimeter of the city. Varosha Metro operates a fleet of Stadler KISS, FLIRT and GTW trains (all in 5-car formation) to serve commuters on the line.
Initial developments in the downtown core included a Best Western hotel (converted from The Asterias Hotel), a 2-story McDonald's restaurant (built on the site of The Grecian Hotel, of which was imploded as part of ABS' resort groundbreaking), The Florida Hotel (restored), and The Argo Hotel (also restored).
Chuck E. Cheese's operates 4 locations in the Republic (Leonidas St, Ierá Kyríou Station, Kenji Yukimura Ave. and Ayia Napa).
Embassies for the Sovereignty of Dahrconia, the United States, the Republic of Oplana and Switzerland are located in the city core.
A 3-terminal International Airport was built to serve the Republic's quickly-growing tourist influx.
Sporting venues in the Republic include the GSE Stadium, Christos Poullaides Stadium, Babe Ruth Memorial Ballpark and Vivodi Telecom Expo Center.
National Anthem Edit
The Republic of Varosha has no official national anthem. Unofficial anthems include the Hymn to Liberty, Ístiklâl Marçi and Kimigayo, the national anthems of Greece, Turkey and Japan respectively. "Kimigayo" was the most frequently used, owing to Varosha's government by Japan.