The Famagusta Ecocity Project

s u s t a i n a b i l i t y + p e r m a c u l t u r e + p e a c e   m e d i a t i o n


Waking Famagusta  

2017 Documentary Trailer (yet to be released)

The Famagusta Ecocity Project in 18 minutes at TedX Limassol

A brief summary of The Famagusta Ecocity Project 

[If unfamiliar with the Cyprus Problem and the plight of Famagusta and Varosha, please visit our page “A Brief History” before reading below]

Any reopening of the 43-year old militarily occupied ghost town of Varosha, a district of historic Famagusta on the Eastern coast of Cyprus, 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 while embracing the latest eco­city technologies and turning Famagusta into a center for peace and sustainability within a troubled region. The project ultimately aims to turn all of Famagusta into Europe’s model Ecocity.   This is a multi-track approach to environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and peace building.  Those involved are local and international architects, permaculture designers, economists, business owners, urban planners, engineers, horticulturists, historians, artists, filmmakers, conflict mediation specialists and much more.

Our aim is to prepare the communities for the implementation of the Famagusta Ecocity into a thriving cultural, economic and environmental hub.  This takes much planning a preparation ahead of time before the area opens up again to human habitation, and after 40 years of separation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the road is certainly a bumpy one.  

In addition to completing an architectural design studio, which brings five sets of ecocity ideas to the communities, we are working on a documentary film that will both tell the story of the city and show why it is the perfect laboratory for an ecocity to be born.  

2014 Funding Campaign Video

The Documentary Film

Waking Famagusta

Waking Famagusta the story of this mother/daughter-led team as they rally support across the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, to transform a captive ghost town into a model ecocity.  Vasia Markides grew up in Maine, in the northeastern U.S., hearing stories from her mother, Emily Markides, about her lost city, now decaying behind barbed wires on the northeast coast of Cyprus.  It was only in 2003 when Turkey loosened restrictions at the checkpoint when Vasia was able to see the ghost town herself, from across the fence.  The grip it had on her from that moment forward was unrelenting, and Vasia devoted the next fourteen years of her young adult life to exposing Famagusta to the world.  Her aim ultimately was to help Emily pursue her longtime dream of seeing the entire city of Famagusta revived into a model of sustainability and reconciliation at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. 

Famagustians from both sides of the divide, come together, stirring momentum beyond their expectations on the island and beyond. Historic peace negotiations aim to reunite the island after 43 years of division.  If this happens, Famagustians will be given the right to return home, and will confront what could be the largest reconstruction challenge the world has seen since the end of World War II.

Whether the group fails or succeeds in creating an ecocity in Famagusta, this story inspires other communities to take action towards a more lasting future. 






  1. I am a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA and I will be taking a group of MBA students to Cyprus through our International Consulting Program this summer to conduct a two-week business related project in Cyprus. We are collaborating with the University of Nicosia for this program and projects can be with any Cypriot business or organization. Last year, for example, we worked on projects with the Cyprus Community Media Center in the buffer zone, Carlsberg, and three other companies. Our consulting services are free.

    I am very interested in exploring the possibility of having some of my students work on projects related to the Famagusta Eco-City Project. I would greatly appreciate it if you can help to guide me as to whom I should contact about this.

    I am a Famagustian and would be delighted to contribute to the exciting Famagusta Eco-City Project.


    John Palesis

  2. Hello,
    I am Yaara, the producer of “Masa Acher”, a leading geographical and cultural magazine, published monthly by TimeOut Israel.
    In our next issue we will publish an article about THE FAMAGUSTA ECOCITY PROJECT. Could you please send me high resolution images to publish aside the recommendation in the magazine and in our website? Of course, credit will be given by your request.
    Best regards

    Yaara kalif
    Masa Acher – TimeOut

  3. Hi there,

    My name is Zakary Howard and I am currently doing a summer internship at Action Global Group, A Public Relations firm in Cyprus. We are currently creating a proposition for a nation-wide campaign involving schools and hosted events to educate children about the future of biofuels and how they can positively impact the country. I was wondering if you would like to take part and maybe showcase your movie or describe how eco-friendly options can make Cyprus a better place to live.

  4. Hi Zakary!

    We would love to participate somehow.
    Do you have an email with which we can correspond?
    Feel free to write to me at so we can discuss further.

    Thanks for reaching out and for the great work you’re doing!


  5. Most Cypriots have little honour, and there is definitely a rotten core within Cypriot society that wouldn’t know what honour is if it was directly in front of them. Cypriot society has tolerated this rotten core just as long as they were not personally bothered by it.

    Stupidity could be mitigating circumstances and whatever happens to Cyprus is totally self inflicted and maybe they deserve it.

  6. Everything that happened to Cyprus happened for a reason. The ancient Greeks had a word for it; hubris (egotism – excessive pride or self-confidence) They knew a thing or two, those ancient Greeks.

  7. I completely understand why you sound frustrated Yiota (are you Cypriot yourself?) but I don’t believe that most Cypriots have little honor. I just think they have been misguided and have given up, letting those with the rotten core take charge without question. That’s where things have gone so wrong. But regardless, if the youth doesn’t at least try to change the status quo, then where does the hope lie?

  8. Perhaps yes Ernst, but it doesn’t take away the fact that the current situation in Famagusta is an anachronism that does nothing good for nobody on that island. It also doesn’t change the fact that there is a tremendous opportunity there that mustn’t be wasted — an opportunity that would benefit both Greek and Turkish-Cypriots in a big way. It’s a win win for all involved.

  9. The problems began when the population was indoctrinated with the false belief that they each had something greater on their side than the other. Whilst living in Kato-Varosha I met some of the most wonderful people on both sides of the divide whom I shall never forget. Louisos. Maria, Andrulla, Elenitza, Paniotis, Juni, Paniota, Ozzie, Muhterem, and family, and many others who we met in stores on our daily rounds.

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