Also known as Gazimağusa, Famagusta is a historically rich city overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on the east coast of Cyprus. It was once the island’s most important port and a gateway for trade with the Levant, with its well-preserved fortifications dominating the city today.
Things to do in Famagusta
Spend a day strolling through the Old Town of Famagusta, which is surrounded by Venetian walls dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Take note of the cannonball holes that can be seen in the fortifications, then soak up the views across the city from the top of the waterless moat. Not to miss is the Porta Del Mare, an Italian Renaissance-style gate dominated by a winged lion statue.
Forming part of Famagusta’s fortifications is Othello Castle, which was constructed in the 14th century by the Lusignans and takes its modern name from a stage note in Shakespeare’s play. Wander through its passages and rooms, which include a refectory and dormitory, then climb up one of the castle’s four circular towers. In the castle’s courtyard, cannonballs left by the Spaniards and Ottomans reflect the castle’s tumultuous past.
One of Famagusta’s most striking architectural landmarks is the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque, which began life as a medieval church. It features an intricately decorated Gothic facade constructed from honey-coloured stone and a vaulted interior lined with columns. Damage inflicted during the 16th-century Ottoman siege is still visible on the mosque’s twin bell towers, one of which is now topped by a minaret.
Getting around Famagusta
Famagusta is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Nicosia and one hour from Larnaca International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Buses travel throughout Famagusta while the city centre is compact enough to explore on foot.