Hitchhiking Through the Turkish Occupied Northern Cyprus


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In 1974 Cyprus was attacked by the Turkish, and hundreds of thousands were forced to move from their homes. This has still left a lot of houses empty until the day, like one of the districts of Famagusta which has been sealed off and left completely empty, like a ghost town. Churches, beach hotels, restaurants and homes were all abandoned in a hurry and the owners were not allowed to return.
Me and my couch surfing host continued hitchhiking from this border town and further into the occupied area of Northern Cyprus.
When we reached the coastal town of Girne it felt like the area had always been Turkish with minarets and kebab shops on every corner. Just a ten minute ride from there St. Hilarion Castle, which was the castle where the stories of Snowewhite and the Seven Dwarfs were written from and about. From the view on top we could see how big the city of Girne was and just imagine how many people would have fled in a hurry when the Turkish soldiers reached their port.
Finally the last stop and just a short hour hitchhiking away, was the capital of Nicosia, which is the only capital split in two. There is a wall dividing it and it used to be completely closed but now you are allowed to walk between the two sides as long as you have your passport with you.
Watching the two sides were very different. The brands of all products changed, the currency changed and so did the language and culture. The Greek orthodox cathedrals had been turned into fully operational mosques and some of the smaller streets were more like Turkish bazaars. After checking out both sides we were happy to catch a ride all the way back to Larnaca again.

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One of the many churches that had been turned into a mosque by the Turkish occupants


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