A few kilometres north of Paralimni, DERYNEIA has a dinky square containing the usual war memorial, a small church, a village museum and a kafenío. So far so typical of many Cypriot villages. The unique thing about Deryneia, though, is its position on a hillside overlooking the Green Line, which offers impressive views over Gazimağusa in north Cyprus (the town is still defiantly known as Famagusta here). Nowhere are the effects of the 1974 invasion clearer or more affecting. At the bottom of the slope the Turkish flags, military buildings and barbed wire begin, and beyond them stretches the suburb of Varosha, once a vibrant coastal resort, now a sorry expanse of empty and increasingly dilapidated buildings.
The best place from which to view Varosha is the Cultural Centre of Occupied Famagusta, clearly signposted from the centre of the village. There’s a short video to watch, a diorama of Famagusta, and you can borrow binoculars or a telescope (free of charge) and climb up to the rooftop viewing area. The highly committed curator is happy to answer any questions, and will pick you up on your terminology if you refer to “the border” – borders are between countries, and north Cyprus is an occupied zone, not a country. You might also be told about the murders of two young Greek-Cypriot men in 1996, during demonstrations against the Turkish occupation. This makes for a sad, thought-provoking visit which emphasizes just what a disaster the events of 1974 were for both Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities on the island.