Abandoned Cyprus: Haunting photos show a former booming beach resort that’s now frozen in time

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Written By Maya Cantina

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Forgotten churches, an apocalyptic car show room, barren boutiques and tower blocks being reclaimed by nature.

These haunting photographs capture the once-booming beach resort of Varosha, located on coastline known in bygone times as the Riviera of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Varosha lies in a UN buffer zone that separates Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus, and is under the control of the Turkish military. The Greek Cypriot residents fled in 1974 when Turkey invaded – and Varosha has been a ghost town ever since.

The spellbinding pictures were taken by Dimitri Bourriau, who specialises in capturing the beauty of abandoned buildings – relics of a past world, frozen in time.

The French photographer, who has 58,000 followers on Instagram, turned his lens towards lost-in-time destinations ten years ago. His work has taken him to countries such as Morocco, Greece, Georgia, KazakhstanArmenia and the U.S.

Asked what inspired the Cyprus project, Dimitri, 40, told MailOnline Travel: ‘Man is capable of building fascinating things. Unfortunately, some places are falling into oblivion. I try to remember the places before they disappear. My photos are almost a work of memory in certain cases.’

French photographer Dimitri Bourriau explains that Varosha (pictured) has been ‘guarded by the Turkish army for more than 50 years’ after Turkey invaded in 1974

An old school in Varosha that has been left to decay. 'The interior seemed interesting to me but I couldn't find any way of getting in,' Dimitri explains

An old school in Varosha that has been left to decay. ‘The interior seemed interesting to me but I couldn’t find any way of getting in,’ Dimitri explains

Signs pointing to Varosha's Town Bazaar are still in place at the eerie 'ghost town'

Signs pointing to Varosha’s Town Bazaar are still in place at the eerie ‘ghost town’

Dimitri wanders the streets of Varosha and photographs its crumbling buildings

Dimitri wanders the streets of Varosha and photographs its crumbling buildings

The Varosha district (pictured) has 'a long and tragic history', Dimitri comments

'Nothing could stop nature from reclaiming its rights over the area's various buildings,' Dimitri says - as this picture shows

The Varosha district has ‘a long and tragic history’, Dimitri comments, adding: ‘Nothing could stop nature from reclaiming its rights over the area’s various buildings’

Pictured: An old Toyota dealership on the resort's main avenue has been left to decay

Pictured: An old Toyota dealership on the resort’s main avenue has been left to decay

Dimitri captures what strikes him as an 'impressive cascade of vegetation' on the front of the Angolis Hotel Flats, one of several large hotel 'ghosts' in the area

Dimitri captures what strikes him as an ‘impressive cascade of vegetation’ on the front of the Angolis Hotel Flats, one of several large hotel ‘ghosts’ in the area

The vegetation has spread most rampantly in the northern quarter (pictured), Dimitri explains

The vegetation has spread most rampantly in the northern quarter (pictured), Dimitri explains

Dimitri says he was drawn to the Brutalist architecture of this old Orthodox church situated in the north of Varosha

Dimitri says he was drawn to the Brutalist architecture of this old Orthodox church situated in the north of Varosha

Plants are taking over an abandoned hotel in the above picture, which shows tangled vines twisting their way up the front of the building and wrapping round its balconies

Plants are taking over an abandoned hotel in the above picture, which shows tangled vines twisting their way up the front of the building and wrapping round its balconies

Here lies the outer shell of what was once a bustling high-street shop, according to Dimitri

Here lies the outer shell of what was once a bustling high-street shop, according to Dimitri

This abandoned apartment building casts far-reaching shadows on the ground

A deserted hotel once bustling with tourists visiting nearby beaches

This abandoned apartment building casts far-reaching shadows on the ground (left). On the right is a deserted hotel once bustling with tourists visiting nearby beaches

Nature is reclaiming a former women's clothing store

'This little street is very interesting,' says Dimitri of this photograph. 'In the distance, we can see another Orthodox church in the forbidden zone'

LEFT: Nature is reclaiming a former women’s clothing store RIGHT: ‘This little street is very interesting,’ says Dimitri of this photograph. ‘In the distance, we can see another Orthodox church in the forbidden zone’

Lost in time: A small deserted house now covered by vegetation

Lost in time: A small deserted house now covered by vegetation

Taken in north Varosha, this image shows a deserted hotel standing empty next to two palm trees - a reminder of the area's former identity as a popular beach resort

Taken in north Varosha, this image shows a deserted hotel standing empty next to two palm trees – a reminder of the area’s former identity as a popular beach resort

Some of the letters have fallen off the shopfront of this supermarket, which once served the local residents and passing tourists of Varosha

Some of the letters have fallen off the shopfront of this supermarket, which once served the local residents and passing tourists of Varosha

A rusty security grille is still in place at Varosha's Bank of Cyprus, despite it being abandoned with no cash machines in sight

A rusty security grille is still in place at Varosha’s Bank of Cyprus, despite it being abandoned with no cash machines in sight

An abandoned house in Varosha, firmly closed 'to avoid intrusions'. Reflecting on the area's past, Dimitri added: 'The residents had to leave the area in a hurry in the 1970s. They were never allowed to return'

This eerie photo shows a bell tower standing in front of a ghostly tower block

LEFT: An abandoned house in Varosha, firmly closed ‘to avoid intrusions’. Reflecting on the area’s past, Dimitri added: ‘The residents had to leave the area in a hurry in the 1970s. They were never allowed to return.’ RIGHT: This eerie photo shows a bell tower standing in front of a ghostly tower block

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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