Two war-torn communities in Cyprus reunite after four decades of division by pursuing a shared dream to turn an occupied ghost town into a thriving ecocity.
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.
One of these people is 69-year old Emily Markides, whose home remains inaccessible today. In 2003, her daughter Vasia, captivated by her mother's stories of her birthplace, decided to travel to the island’s Turkish-occupied north on a trip that would prove to be life-changing. The film follows Vasia's decade-long fixation with this ghost city, and the unexpected turn of events that followed. After joining forces with Ceren Bogaç, one of the Turkish Cypriots who grew up across the street from this abandoned district, Vasia launched the Famagusta Ecocity Project, an effort to pursue her mother’s dream to one day see her hometown revived as a model ecocity.
Waking Famagusta follows this team of Greek and Turkish-Cypriots who attempt to undo over four decades of animosity and division through a groundbreaking effort for ecology, peace and urban revival at the crossroads of three continents.
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