Aqua Sol Apart-Hotel, Protaras, Cyprus, June 2016 +Bonus Famagusta!

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Locksley

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Hi guys, my first proper report on here for a while, wasn't exactly expecting such an inviting explore on a family holiday but it would have been downright rude of me not to have a mooch around here.

I can't find a massive amount of info however I did get some off the chap who we rented our apartment off. This place, along with the 2 blocks which make up the complex where we stayed, were originally all part of the same Aqua Sol resort, built in the 70s, and was actually one of the very first hotels to be built in the then quiet village of Protaras, around 10 mins drive from the sleepy fishing port of Ayia Napa. They apparently closed around 8 years ago, with 2 of the 3 sections being completely renovated into the Coralli Spa resort, and the much larger apart-hotel complex next door being stripped out and left.

At one point this place must have been fantastic, it's clearly very extensive with a decent sized pool, beautiful sea views and a large pool bar area. The apartments look to have been self catering, with some having evidence of a second floor. Pretty much the entirety of the electrics, including the wiring has been stripped out, to the point where all the floors have been ripped up at significant effort, however there was a few places that looked like some attempt had been made to put wiring back in. The odd pile of concrete suggests maybe there were some initial plans to renovate.

Security/any attempt to prevent public access is non existent, you can literally just walk in. Clearly the Cypriots don;t quite have the same concerns for health and safety as we do. As we were finishing up, a bloke did get out of a car parked outside, took a quick look round, then pulled up the only chair left and settled next to the pool with a book. Whether he was some sort of vague caretaker, or just someone looking for a peaceful spot to relax, I don't know.

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Varosha, Famagusta.

I didn't think it was worth making a separate topic for this as there's already at least 2 on here, but figured it was worth at least including.

We went on the Original Red Bus tour (an absolute must if you're in the area) which takes you across the border into the illegally occupied Turkish side of Cyprus. Famagusta Old Town is absolutely rammed full of history. Once boasted 365 churches, it was originally fortified by the French, reinforced by the Venetians, used as a stop off point for Crusading Templars, repeatedly taken over by the Ottomans, briefly owned by the Brits, before being settled by the Turks after the 1974 invasion.

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St. Nicholas's Cathedral, now Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque, built between 1298 and c.1400. Converted to a mosque in 1571.

After the Old town, the bus takes you as close to Varosha, the abandoned part of Famagusta, as it is legal to go. It's a completely surreal experience. At the Northern most end of the resort lies Constantia beach, a popular Turkish holiday destination. I was swimming off a beach crowded with holidaymakers, literally a hundred yards from a bombed out hotel. At the southern end of the beach beyond the barbed wire lies 2 miles of completely deserted hotels, shops, apartments, restaurants, and homes. There are even 2 car showrooms which were left as they were in 1974, one apparently full of brand new Cortinas, another full of Datsuns.

With the odd exception of 2 hotels right in the centre of Varosha which are used by Turkish Army personnel as a holiday resort to this day.

It's a sad place really, to think of the thousands of people who lost their homes and businesses, hoping one day they would be able to return to collect their belongings, and ultimately never having the chance, despite being told they would be allowed by the Turkish military. It's generally felt amongst the Cypriots that the Turkish invasion was entirely illegal, and it's easy to share that opinion. To be quite frank I think it's disgusting what they did. The Turks kept the resort from the Cypriots to use as a bargaining chip in negotiations, however so long has passed, if people are ever let back in the entire place would have to be razed.

I must say though, I'd give my left testicle to be able to have a look round.


Photography is, of course, expressly forbidden, and if caught the guards have the 'right' to erase them. However, some sneaky photographs can be had under the pretense of photographing the beach/taking a selfie the wrong way round.


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Constantia Hotel, featuring bomb damage by Turkish AF aircraft after a Cypriot sniper was spotted in the building.

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Looking south towards Protaras, literally everything in this photo beyond the fence is deserted, for 2 miles along the coast, and 1 mile inland, except for the aforementioned Military hotels.

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And finally, this should give some idea of just how surreal the experience was.
 

Hugh Jorgan

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Nicely done. Aqua-Sol apartment hotel looks like it was a nice resort in its heyday, picture 3 is my favourite because that's the area where you would see in hotel brochures and holiday programs on the TV, where people would sit in the evening and have drinks and let the world go by. I feel that some kind of renovation could be done with it.
 

UrbanX

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That is awesome. It's still surprisingly rare how often pics of Varosha come up at all,. So loved these, how surreal!
That terrace on the first hotel too is awesome!
Great report, thanks for sharing :)
 

dirge

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Cracking thread with some great photos. My parents are buying a property out there soon, so hopefully I'll get the chance to visit that resort myself.
 

Trinpaul

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Great pictures and impressive site. I'm surprised nobody has done anything to refurbish it. That's a very useful piece of real estate.
 

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