Famagusta before 1974
During the early days of British Rule, Famagusta was the fourth biggest city in Cyprus, only slightly larger than Paphos. In a short span of 100 years however, it grew into a prosperous and modern city, numbering 40.000 inhabitants by 1974. It was an important commercial and tourism-oriented city that was vibrant in every respect. If one adds the great numbers of tourists that visited the city during the hot summer months then the people moving to and from Famagusta could easily reach 60.000.
What were the driving forces behind this remarkably dynamic and economically prosperous city?
Famagusta was the capital of the second largest province of Cyprus both in terms of its population and surface area. This was an important factor as the city accommodated the administrative authorities of the whole province, covering the needs of 124,000 people in 1973. Moreover, the establishment of British military bases in Cyprus during the 1950’s and the subsequent settlement of British families on the island, and primarily in Famagusta, generated an important source of income for the city, at a time when traditional sectors of the economy grew only at a slow rate.
There were however, other, more important reasons behind the city’s prosperity. The cultivation of citrus fruit, the rich and fertile mainland, the port, tourist and industrial sectors were perhaps the most significant contributors to the city’s economic dynamism.