Abandoned European airport still has planes waiting for takeoff on the runway

From airport to battlefield to ghost town
  • This airport used to be the principal travel hub in Cyprus
  • After the president was overthrown, it became a battlefield
  • Today it looks like a ghost town, full of empty chairs and abandoned airplanes

Published on May 23, 2024 at 4:22PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on May 24, 2024 at 6:32PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood

The Nicosia International Airport was once a bustling travel hub in Cyprus.

However, today it looks like a ghost town, abandoned overnight for dramatic reasons.

It’s not unusual for buildings to become disused and close down, but this airport remains frozen in time.

Everything from the rows of seats at the terminals to the airplanes on the tarmac stands untouched, seemingly waiting for travelers to return.

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Nicosia International Airport was built in the 1930s and stood for years as the principal airport for Cyprus.

It received an upgrade during World War II, during which it was used by American bombers.

While not as grand as what will be the world’s largest airport in Dubai, millions were spent on its upkeep over the years.

A major upgrade was scheduled for 1974 but in July of that year, the president of Cyprus was overthrown and life as the Cypriots knew it was turned upside down.

The airport was bombed and was where some of the most intense battles between Cypriot and Turkish forces took place.

The UN stepped in, declaring it a United Nations Protected Area (UNPA), forcing both sides to stay at least 1,600 feet away from its perimeter.

The inoperable airport became a buffer between the two communities on the island.

Today, UN peacekeepers use it as a base, a site for peace talks and recreational facilities.

Inside, waiting room chairs and immigration checkpoints are covered in bird excrement and dust.

There are posters on the walls, still advertising shoes and holidays of the 1970s.

On the tarmac outside, rusted planes sit waiting, including a Hawker-Siddeley Trident.

There are no plans to bring the airport back to its former glory.

It now joins the likes of Malaysia’s Forest City and the city of Varosha in the lineup of abandoned hot spots.

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