Famagusta, Greek Ammókhostos, Turkish Gazi Mağusa, a major port in the Turkish Cypriot-administered portion of northern Cyprus. It pushes the island’s east coast in a bay between Capes Greco and Eloea and has to do with 37 miles (55 km) east of Nicosia. The port possesses the inmost harbour in Cyprus.
Famagusta is a Frankish corruption of its Greek name, which suggests “buried in the sand,” descriptive of the silted mouth of the Pedieos River north of the town. It was founded as Arsinoe by the Macedonian Egyptian king Ptolemy II (308– 246 BCE). An increase of Christian refugees running away the downfall of Acre (1291) in Palestine briefly transformed it from a tiny village into one of the richest cities in Christendom. The Lusignan kings of Cyprus were crowned as kings of Jerusalem in Famagusta’s 14th-century Gothic-style cathedral of St. Nicholas, which is now a mosque. In 1372 the port was seized by Genoa and in 1489 by Venice. The Venetians made Famagusta the capital of Cyprus and redesigned the town’s strongholds. Damaged by war and earthquakes, and now just partly lived in, the old walled and bastioned town includes some of the finest examples of middle ages military architecture extant. The walls are 50 feet (15 metres) high and 27 feet (8 metres) thick in places, and north of the well-preserved sea gate (rebuilt 1492) stands the citadel called Othello’s Tower, so called due to the fact that a lieutenant-governor of Cyprus (1506– 08) called Christoforo Moro was allegedly the design for the title character in Shakespeare’s play Othello. Famagusta fell to the Turks after a prolonged and bitter siege in 1570– 71.
The British occupied Cyprus from 1878 to 1960. They developed comprehensive harbour installations at Famagusta, which became a marine base in The second world war. Throughout the British administration, a contemporary suburban area called Varosha was established south of Famagusta as a commercial centre and tourist resort. After the Turkish intervention in 1974, Varosha was sealed off to civilians and tourism ceased. Settlers from mainland Turkey were moved in Famagusta, parts of Varosha (after 1976), and in the surrounding citrus-growing locations. Famagusta is now house to the Eastern Mediterranean University, which opened in 1986. Ferry service, begun in 1978 between Mersin, Turkey, and Latakia, Syria, consists of Famagusta in its run. Pop. (2006) 34,803.
Famagusta, Greek Ammókhostos, Turkish Gazi Mağusa, a major port in the Turkish Cypriot-administered part of northern Cyprus. Famagusta is a Frankish corruption of its Greek name, which means “buried in the sand,” detailed of the silted mouth of the Pedieos River north of the town. The Lusignan kings of Cyprus were crowned as kings of Jerusalem in Famagusta’s 14th-century Gothic-style cathedral of St. Nicholas, which is now a mosque. The Venetians made Famagusta the capital of Cyprus and remodeled the town’s strongholds.