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A brief summary

In 1974, a coup backed by the Greek military junta instigated Turkey to invade the nation of Cyprus. They captured almost 40% of the island and displaced its residents, both Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot. 

Varosha, which was once a tourist district in the city of Famagusta on the east coast of Cyprus, was occupied and all its Greek-Cypriot residents fled their homes. Since then, Varosha has been encircled by barbed wire and kept under surveillance by the Turkish military, which uses the territory as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Cyprus government. Its citizens are still forbidden to return. Over the last 39 years, Varosha went from being "Cyprus's Riviera", to a dilapidated ghost city; its former inhabitants watch their houses decay from outside the barricades.  Within Varosha's limits rare sea turtles nest on the beaches, bougainvilleas overtake deteriorating homes, and wild asparagus and prickly pear plants run rampant.

Any reopening of Varosha, if and when that occurs, presents a unique opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and rebuild for a better future. Yet it comes with significant risks. Without careful planning, it could become just another unsustainable development in an already crowded Mediterranean tourism market, while cementing Famagusta as the second divided city in Cyprus.

Rebuilding Varosha in the context of a model ecopolis promotes peaceful coexistence amongst all of Famagusta’s inhabitants, embraces the latest eco­city technologies and thereby becomes a center for peace and sustainability within a troubled region. The Famagusta Ecocity Project aims to ultimately turn all of Famagusta into Europe’s model Ecocity.   The project will be a multi-track approach to environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and peace building.  Those involved will be local and international architects, permaculture designers, economists, business owners, urban planners, horticulturists, engineers, artists, conflict mediation specialists and more.
 
The aim is the implementation of the Varosha ecopolis and the transformation of Famagusta into a thriving cultural, economic and environmental hub.  Yet, the road is sure to be a bumpy one, after 43 years of separation there will certainly be many obstacles along the way as a result.  And that’s exactly what makes it an interesting film subject.

Waking Famagusta - a documentary

Waking Famagusta is a new documentary film by Cypriot-American filmmaker, Vasia Markides, which tells the story of her mother’s birthplace, held captive by Turkish forces for over 40 years, and her fight to reclaim and ignite its future through an environmental movement like none other. The film has garnered international attention from news organizations worldwide, including a well-received feature in BBC Magazine along with write-ups on CNN and Al-Jazeera. From local Cypriot city councils to Ivy League classrooms in the U.S., Waking Famagusta has sparked conversation about the way we live and our ever-changing times. As well, the film has shined a bright light on a nearly forgotten ghost-city, weaving its way into recent peace talks involving Turkey and the UN, which have alluded to the possible return of the Cypriot district, Varosha, Famagusta. As such, we, the filmmakers, are looking to complete Waking Famagusta by fall of 2017, in an effort to deliver our message of sustainability, opportunity, and hope, to a wider and eager audience. 

Our overall goals are to bring attention to the on-going conflict in Cyprus, showcase a plan for creating a sustainable community post-occupation, and inspire other municipalities to become eco-cities.

Contact: Vasia Markides -- vasia@ecocityproject.com

To Donate visit: http://ecocityproject.com/famagusta/donate/