Famagusta mini model for a future Cyprus
A short afternoon walk within the walls of Famagusta offers few clues that change is in the air yet careful scrutiny of the stone and brick surrounds reveals an ongoing internationally funded facelift with the aim of preserving and restoring the inherent beauty of this medieval centrepiece of Mediterranean commerce.
The town’s narrow streets, a labyrinthine warren linking majestic squares of soaring ancient buildings and tumbled ruins, are sleepy and unhurried, belying a past rich in the shuttle of business and trade transactions. Nowadays, elderly men sit on small chairs in front of their semi-defunct workshops. While some drink coffee and play backgammon in the shade of huge trees, others take idle strolls.
A closer look at some of these hallowed ruins yields a story of another age and more vibrant times. Whatever is left of the buildings’ former splendour has been gaining a new shine thanks to careful renovation work being carried out by experts working for the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, which, together with the UNDP and the EU, has been engaged in a series of restoration projects within the town’s environs, some of which drew on initiatives of local NGOs within the two communities.