Famagusta (Gazimağusa) – City of Othello
The city of Famagusta on the east coast is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in the eastern Mediterranean. The Old Town of Famagusta is filled with enough history to be called a big outdoor museum. Here you walk among ruins in a romantic ambience, filled with palm trees and bougainvillea flowers.
Several countries have ruled the city through the centuries, which have left imprints in buildings and architecture. The Old Town is surrounded by a stone wall built by the Lusignans in the 1300’s. What makes the wall so special is that it is well preserved and intact. If one wants to take a stroll down history lane the city wall is a good place to start.
If you are in the neighborhood you should definitely stop at the historic Petek Patisserie. The café is a local celebrity well-liked for its traditional pistachio-filled and honey oozing pastries. The walls are decorated with Arabic dishes, traditional costumes and clay pots. Cosy with a vengeance, and perfect for a break in the history walk through the old town.
You don’t have to walk far from Petek Patisserie before you reach the Old Town’s vibrant square. Here you can find the proud Lala Mustafa Pasha mosque, the biggest of all medieval buildings in Famagusta and one of the most magnificent gothic architectures around the Mediterranean. Right next to it lies the Venetian Palace and the St. George of the Greeks church.
Outside the walls Famagusta is a fairly widespread city with a lot of shopping and restaurants. It is also a lively student city as Cyprus’ oldest university Eastern Mediterranean University can be found here.
Miles long beaches
When the heat takes its grip on Famagusta, many residents and tourists head to the beach. Famagusta is a big city with close proximity to many fantastic beaches. The nearest, and therefore perhaps the most well-attended is Palm Beach which is a few steps away from the old city walls.
On the beach there are sun loungers and umbrellas available to rent. There is also a snack restaurant for light lunches. Right next to Palm Beach are Varosha’s abandoned hotels, an odd attraction and a sad reminder of what once was.
Heading a few minutes north of Famagusta you find along the coast incredible beaches with white sand and turquoise water. Here are also important historic attractions like the Salamis ruins and St. Barnabas monastery.