This beautiful city was founded in the 11 Century B.C., by Greece settlers and was for many years one of the 12 Kingdoms of Island. In the 8th Century Kyrenia was conquered by Byzantine who built the original stronghold before extended first by the Lusignans and then by the Venetians. Under Ottoman rule the city had remained a stretegic port. The British built a quay and a harbour on the shore. Under British rule, Kyrenia was a resting and maintenance place for trade and royal ships because of its fascinating harbour and calm and spacious atmosphere. Kyrenia still keeps its attractiveness with many restaurants and bars at the Harbour and good hotels throughout the city, along, the coastline. The town now a popular holiday spot includes many historic places worth visiting. Also Kyrenia Castle at the Harbour and the Shipwreck Museum, The St. Hilarion Castle, The Bellapais Abbey, The Kantara Castle and Buffavento Castle are the most attractive.
- Pure Romance
Vivacious, joyous, energetic and romantic at all times... Kyrenia is a fascinating Mediterranean port town. In Latin-origin languages cities are "female" (she) Like women, some of them attract you at first sight, while some posses an air of mystery in addition to their beauty. Some of them have sensual beauty, while others are cute, childish or charming... Some of them may not be so attractive at first sight, but you discover other virtues deep inside, as you know them closely. Some are not so beautiful but are attractive. Some others give away signs that they were once very beautiful but were exhausted by the touch of coarse hands. As the writer once wrote, "Five Fingers Mountains on the one side, Blue Mediterranean on the other, continue in their age-old harmony, bestowing upon you the incomparable beauty, ever your blessing, ever your curse, little, so little, Kyrenia". Women with uniqe beauty are worshipped and damned at the same time. Kyrenia is the little girl of the Mediterranean, sometimes cute, sometimes mysterious, but always very beautiful. She is lucky because she is both at first and last sight. At the first encounter on the Five-Fingers Mountains, you take a deep sigh. She burns your heart, as you get closer. Her love is not one that glows like a flame and is then extinguished; her face is one that is never erased from the memory.
Historians supposes that the castle has been built to defend the city against Arabic and pirate rushes in the early 7th century. In the Lusignan rule, the castle has been restored completely and thus it provided the city to resist Genoese attacks until 1489. During the Genoese administration, two new towers have been constructed into consideration of strong Ottoman artillery.
However the castle was captured by Ottomans in 1570. There are tombs of famaous commanders and governors inside the castle which consists of the guards' room, the big hall, lots of dungeons,courtyard and many rooms that have been used for various purposes during Lusignan and Genoese period. Besides, inside the castle, there is a museum which houses the oldest revealed wreck.
The Peace Monastery which takes its name from the French "Abbaye de la Paix" is a beautiful example of Gothic art and is built on a rocky mountain top, south of Ozankoy village below the skirts of Five-Finger Mountains to the southeast of Kyrenia. Bellapais Abbey, which holds a special place in the island's architectural inheritance, is among the monuments of the many civilizations which have established themselves on the island.Located three miles to the east of Kyreina, built on a rocky outcrop on the slopes of the Five-Finger Mountain range, Bellapais Abbey was of great importance to a people for whom peace was elusive. In North Cyprus, where several monuments to the Gothic period still remain, Bellapais Abbey stands to the fore. The first inhabitants of monestary were Augustinian monks who migrated there after the capture of Jerusalem by Salahaddin Ayyoubi in 1187. The main part of the monastery was built during 1198-1205 by King Hugh III of France. When the island was taken by Ottomans, the building was delivered to the Orthodox Church. The Italian frescoes seen at the entrance of the chapel were painted in 15th century. Overlooking the town of magnificent Gothic-style monastery, with its dining room, underground cellars, kitchen, meeting room and treasury is really worth visiting.
St. Hilarion Castle
According to a legend, the castle is said to be named after a holy man and hermit who lived there fo the last years of his life and is said to be buried there in the 8th century A.D. A church was founded on his grave and later a monastery was built around it. In the 10th Century a castle was erected around this area as part of an early - warning system. The Lusignan rulers used it during the Middle Ages as a summer residence after which Venetians took over. Besides its enchanting historical background, the wonderful views from St. Hilarion castle are not the be missed.
Buffavento Castle has been constructed in order to fortify the defence line of the Cyprus against the Arab raids just like the other castles in the Kyrenia Region. The castle is situated on a hill that is 940 metres above the sea level. Buffavento Castle was used as a prison during the Lusignan rule. However Venetians have prefered the coastline castles for the defence of island instead of the castles onthe mountain.
Antiphonitis Monastery has a unique architecture style compared the other structures all over the Cyprus. It is a specific example for the Gothic stonemasonship. The entrance of the building was constructed in the early 15thcentury. Antiphonitis Monastery houses many fascinating frescoes worth to visit.
The Sourpmagar Monastery
This monastery was firstly built as a Coptic monastery about 1000 A.D. and it was devoted to Alexandrian Saint Makarios. It is also known as the monastery of Mary. In early 15th century, the Armenian's ruled the monastery and they use it as a resting place for the Armenian pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem until 1974.
In the 13th century B.C., Lambousa was used as a settlement by Greek immigrants. The town has been ruled many nations such as Phoenicians, Romans and Byzantine. The theatre and gymnasium are the good samples for ancient architecture style. After the Arab raids, the town was plundered and only a few noteworthy structure has remained such as the defensive walls, the tombs and fish pools.