Katehomena – the occupied territories

Or what it’s like to look from a distance at the house where you grew up and the fields you ran on when you were young and not be able to enjoy them because they are now occupied by the Turks. This is how any Cypriot who is now over 50 years old and who was born and grew up in Famagusta and Kerynia before ’74 when the Turks invaded would best explain the situation.


The alarm goes off every year

On July 20, 1974, on Saint Elias day, Turkish troops entered the territory of Cyprus, in the northern part, and occupied a small part of the Kyrenia region, advancing as far as Nicosia. The second invasion began on August 14 and for two days the Turkish armed forces managed to occupy 36% of the island’s territory.

The two days are marked every year with the sounding of the alarm, throughout the southern part of the island.

Almost 200,000 Greek Cypriots fled the invasion with only the clothes on them. They thought they would go back to their homes.

But this has not happened to this day and there is no real hope that it will happen in the near future.

Around 50,000 ethnic Turks on the island also suffered. Turkish Cypriots now live in the homes of Greek Cypriots, many of whom came from the continent years ago.

Nicosia, the divided capital

Following the 1974 invasion, Cyprus became the last country in Europe to have a divided capital today, with a fence made of tin barrels, buildings and barbed wire.

While the Greek side is thriving, new buildings are coming up, road infrastructure is being upgraded and economic development is continuing, the occupied capital has lagged behind. Many Turkish Cypriots cross the border daily and work in the Republic of Cyprus.

One of the most painful things for Greek Cypriots is the huge Turkish flag that is placed on a hill overlooking Nicosia. It is visible both day and night, from the ground and from the plane.

Famagusta and the ghost town of Varosha

In the second offensive, the Turks occupied most of the Famagusta region, which held the most important port and the most important resort – Varosha – with one of the best beaches on the island.

The latter was surrounded by a fence and became Ghost Town. Until 2020, no one was allowed to enter that territory except for UN peacekeeping troops.

There were not a few cases when bolder tourists, regardless of nationality, were arrested for taking photos of the abandoned city from behind the fence.

The reopening of Varosha in 2020 sparked a new diplomatic scandal between the Greek Cypriot government in Nicosia and that of the occupied side, including with Ankara. Recep Erdogan visited the region for a few hours.

In Varosha there are all the hotels that until 1974 were full of tourists and it was one of the most sought after destinations in the world. Among those who enjoyed the clear and warm waters there Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot or Richard Burton. Now everything is deserted and a ruin.

The desolate picture can be seen from the Paralimni – Protaras area with the naked eye.

🚩 Check here for more info on 👉 Famagusta, the medieval fortress

Turkish occupation=no moving forward

The most important cities of Katehomena remained Famagusta and Kyrenia. However, major investments were not made in the state, which is not recognized worldwide except by Turkey.

The Turks avoided “putting” money in, and only a few Russians came from outside, because no one has a guarantee that they won’t lose money there.

Because house prices are lower on the busy side, there are plenty of Brits who have bought houses and are living there or going on holiday.

The city where the new constructions took off is Iskele. High-rise buildings and hotels began to be built here before the pandemic.

There are many Greek Cypriots who cross the border daily to shop there because the prices are better on fuel and food. Turkish casinos can’t complain about a lack of Cypriot customers either, because the islanders are famous for their passion for gambling.

The biggest and most beautiful beach

In the occupied part there is the most beautiful beach on the island. Nowhere have I found more beautiful sand and more inviting water than at Golden Beach, on the tail of the island.

Just before reaching the monastery of St. Andrew, there is this little heaven on earth that is still untouched by civilization.

🚩📽Here you have a video with the most beautiful beach 👉  Golden Beach

In fact, the whole road from Famagusta untill the tail of the island is a delight.  The road oscillates between the sea on the left side, overlooking the area of Protaras, then it passes on the side with the sea on the left side, past old Cypriot villages, small ports, to finally return with the sea on the right side.

The northern part of the island has a rich history. Fossils of pygmy elephants have been found there, there are castles built during the Byzantine occupation, defensive walls of fortresses also built by the Byzantines, and on top of all that you will find nowadays new mosques but also old cathedrals transformed into Muslim places of worship .

Access to the occupied part is through land border crossing points, by plane, at Ercan airport or by ferry. However, the only flights that arrive there are from Turkey.

Info Katehomena

📌 State recognized only by Turkey

📌Population – app. 300,000 inhabitants

📌Currency – Turkish lira

📌Languages spoken – Turkish, English

📌Access – based on the passport, does not require obtaining a visa

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