Waking Famagusta

(formerly known as The Famagusta Ecocity Project)

A ghost city in Cyprus surrounded by barbed wire and armed troops inspires a daughter’s quest to realize her exiled mother’s dream of bringing divided Greek and Turkish Cypriots together to create a model ecocity at the crossroads of three continents.  Can the work of building a shared ecopolis reunite these two communities and inspire the world?

Brief background:

The district of Varosha in the city of Famagusta, is located on the northeastern coast of Cyprus, a divided island. Following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and subsequent evacuation of Famagusta by its Greek-Cypriot residents, the Turkish army surrounded six square kilometers of the Varosha tourist district in barbed wire and has held it as a ghost town since. As the residents fled in haste, they left laundry hanging on the lines and half cooked rice on the stove. Forty-four years later, Varosha remains a shell of a once vibrant community; a mere bargaining chip for Turkey's negotiations with Cyprus. Its crumbling buildings are guarded by armed troops to this day, as its aging citizens continue to await a return home.


Waking Famagusta provides a historic snapshot of one of the most conflict-ridden regions in Europe revealed through a mother-daughter story of ancestral awakening and the birth of an international urban reclamation movement. In 2003, Vasia Markides, captivated by her mother’s stories of her birthplace, Famagusta, Cyprus and encouraged by Turkey’s recently loosened restrictions on checkpoints in the occupied country, decided to venture to her maternal ancestral land – a journey that would prove to be life-changing. The film follows Vasia’s fixation with Famagusta and her mother’s dream to create a plan for peace and sustainability for the troubled region.

If the island is reunited, Famagustians will be given the right to return home. When this happens, they will confront one of the largest reconstruction challenges Europe has seen since the end of World War II.


Waking Famagusta 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. The film has shined a bright light on a nearly forgotten ghost-town, weaving its way into on and off peace talks involving Turkey and the UN, which have alluded to the possible return of the abandoned Cypriot district. 

As such, we aim to complete Waking Famagusta in 2018, in an effort to deliver our message of sustainability, opportunity, and hope in an increasingly grim global climate. 


Contact: Vasia Markides -- info@ecocityproject.com;  www.ecocityproject.com

To make a tax-deductable donation to the film, visit: https://www.documentaries.org/waking-famagusta