Varosha on Cyprus

October 18th, 2014 | General | No Comments »

© Yolanda Demetriou/cc-by-sa-1.0

© Yolanda Demetriou/cc-by-sa-1.0

Varosha is a quarter in the Cypriot city of Famagusta. By law it belongs to the Republic of Cyprus, but is located within Northern Cyprus. Prior to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, it was the modern tourist area of Famagusta. Its inhabitants fled during the invasion, and it has remained abandoned ever since.

In the 1970s, Famagusta was the number one tourist destination in Cyprus. To cater to the increasing number of tourists, many new high-rise buildings and hotels were constructed. During its heyday the Varosha quarter of Famagusta was not only the number one tourist destination in Cyprus, but between 1970 and 1974 it was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and was a favourite destination of wealthy, rich and famous stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Raquel Welch and Brigitte Bardot.

The main features of the Varosha quarter included John F Kennedy Avenue, a street which ran from close to the port of Famagusta, through the Varosha quarter and parallel to Glossa beach. Along JFK Avenue there were many well known high rise hotels including the King George Hotel, The Asterias hotel, The Grecian hotel, The Florida hotel and the Argo hotel which was the favourite hotel of Dame Elizabeth Taylor. The Argo hotel is located near to the end of JFK Avenue looking towards Protaras and Fig Tree Bay. Another major street in Varosha was Leonidas, a major street that came off JFK Avenue and headed west towards Vienna Corner. Leonidas was a major shopping and leisure street in Varosha, consisting of many bars, restaurants and night clubs.

As no one has inhabited the area and no repairs have been carried out, all of the buildings are slowly falling apart. Nature is reclaiming the area, as metal corrodes, windows break, and plants work their roots into the walls and pavement. Sea turtles have been seen nesting on the deserted beaches.

In recent years, attempts have been repeatedly undertaken to breathe new life into ​​Varosha. Acutally, an attempt is made to develop Varoshia into an ecological model city, while the island-style character should be preserved. Not only the faltering peace negotiations, but as well the necessary billion-dollar investment are great challenges on the way.

Read more on City of Famagusta, – Varosha: The abandoned tourist resort and Wikipedia Varosha. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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Musée Nissim de Camondo in Paris

October 15th, 2014 | General | No Comments »

Musée Nissim de Camondo ©  Daderot

Musée Nissim de Camondo © Daderot

The Musée Nissim de Camondo is an elegant house museum of French decorative arts located in the Hôtel Camondo, 63, rue de Monceau, at the edge of the Parc Monceau, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

The mansion was built in 1911 by the Comte Moïse de Camondo, a banker, with architect René Sergent, to set off his collection of eighteenth-century French furniture and art objects. Its design was patterned upon the Petit Trianon at Versailles, though with modern conveniences. Both house and collections were bequeathed to Les Arts Décoratifs in honour of his son, Nissim de Camondo, killed in World War I, and opened as a museum in 1935.

Today, the house is maintained as if it were still a private home preserved in its original condition. Three floors are open to visitors: the lower ground floor (kitchens), upper ground floor (formal rooms), first floor (private apartments), and gardens.

The house’s furnishings include needlepoint chairs and work by artisans of the Garde Meuble Royal (Royal Furniture Repository) such as Jean-François Oeben, Jean Henri Riesener, and Georges Jacob. Floors are furnished with Savonnerie carpets woven in 1678 for the Grande Galerie in the Louvre, and walls accented with tapestries (many Beauvais or Aubusson), and paintings including portraits by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, landscapes by Guardi and Hubert Robert and hunting scenes by Jean-Baptiste Oudry. Table setting are of particular interest, especially the Orloff silver dinner service commissioned by Catherine II of Russia from silversmith Jacques-Nicolas Roettiers in 1770, and the Buffon porcelain services made at Sèvres in the 1780s with a bird theme. Other notable objects include a bust by Jean-Antoine HoudonJ, bas-reliefs, Chinese vases, and crystal chandeliers.

Read more on Musée Nissim de Camondo and Wikipedia Musée Nissim de Camondo. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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