TOUCH HISTORY IN FARMAGUSTA
Farmagusta's port has attracted shipping from all over the Eastern Mediterranean since the 3rd century B.C. The city fell under European control at the end of the 13th century - first the Crusaders, then the Genoese, and finally the Venetians.
The Ottoman army attacked Farmagusta in 1570 as part of a larger invasion of Cyprus. Thousands of Turkish people immigrated to this Greek inhabited island. Farmagusta stayed under Turkish rule until World War One. Today, Farmagusta is in the Turkish sector of divided Cyprus.
One of the pleasures of visiting Farmagusta is that it is a peaceful town without the crowds found on the tourist trail in Cyprus. Farmagusta's Old Town has its share of tourist shops, but you will encounter few visitors wandering through the old buildings that stand exactly as they were left by the Venetians.
Farmagusta's Old Town is small enough to visit on foot, and there are signposts to help visitors find their way. Enter the city walls through the Land Gate, a short distance east of the traffic circle containing this monument.
The first building you encounter is the 14th century Saint Peter and Saint Paul Cathedral, which is now the Sinan Pasha Mosque.The graves of two Islamic imams are located on its grounds.The other sights in the center of Old Town are close to here.
The Venetian or Provveditore Palace is now nothing more than a large square partly surrounded by imposing stone walls. The entrance to the palace remains intact, and there is a museum dedicated to Nemik Kemal, a contoversial Turkish poet and playwright.
Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque was originally Agios Nikolaos Cathedral. Built in the Crusader era, it is considered the finest Gothic cathedral in Cyprus. Even though the interior has been converted into a mosque, the building still retains its Christian, Gothic ambience.
If you sit on a bench under the massive shade trees in front of Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque, surrounded by the ruins of ancient buildings, you can almost imagine the days when Farmagusta was queen of Cyprus.
Walk east along the avenue next to Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque to reach the sights along the city wall that faces Farmagusta Bay. This takes you to the Sea Gate. Climb the steps to the top of the tower for a great view of Old Town. Below you is Farmagusta's harbour with its container ships and busy quayside.
Othello's Tower, named in the belief that Shakespear' Othello was set in Farmagusta, is just north of the Sea Gate. This 12th century tower has the Venetian Lion emblem over its entrance and houses a museum.
A five minute walk south on Canbulat Yolu Avenue brings you to the Canbulat Museum. Located in a tower used by the Venetians to defend the city, the museum has an interesting collection of paintings and artifacts portraying the Ottoman conquest and daily life in Ottoman Cyprus.
There are beautiful views of Farmagusta Bay from a point of land that juts into the ocean half a mile from Old Town. Take the road that runs past Canbulat Museum and out the city walls.
GETTING TO FARMAGUSTA
Farmagusta is thirty miles from Nicosia on a modern highway. If you are traveling by public transportation, the long distance bus station in Turkish Nicosia is on Kemal Asik Caddesi (Avenue) at the corner of Ataturk Caddesi. This is just past the City Royal Hotel, which most taxi drivers know. There is frequent service to Farmagusta, but be sure to ask for Magusa.
www.cyprus44.com has complete information on a holiday in Northern Cyprus, including information on car rental and bus service.
www.aboutnorthcyprus.com is another good site with a wide range of information for visitors to northern cyprus.
www.redbuscyprus.com has day trips to Farmagusta from Greek Cyprus.