I read with interest the recent article on the partial re-opening of Varosha (Historic partial re-opening of Varosha attracts hundreds, but ramifications go beyond collapse of TRNC coalition government, 9 June 2020), and thought your readers would be interested in the origins of the town’s name ‘Varosha’.
During the medieval period when Anatolia and, from 1571, Cyprus, was ruled by the Ottoman Turks, the Christian population was expected to live beyond the castle walls.
Life within the castle fortifications was considered the ‘town’ and those beyond the castle walls were regarded as the suburbs.
The English word ‘suburb’ is derived from the Latin word ‘suburra’, which referred to the neighbourhood on the outskirts of ancient Rome.
The Turkish equivalent of ‘suburb’ is the word ‘varoş’ (va-rosh). The etymology of ‘varoş’ is Hungarian, and the country’s heritage includes nomadic Turkic people from Central Asia and the Caucasus, who arrived in Eastern Europe sixteen hundred years ago, and where some of the shared culture with Turks exists.
Ismail Veli, London
Image, top, of Varosha coastline after it opened to the public on 08 Oct. 2020. Photo © Selim Kumbaraci / Pasedembo