Overlooking the small city of Kyrenia on the northern coast of Cyprus, Kyrenia Castle stands as one of the most remarkably preserved fortified settlements on the island.
Originally constructed during the Byzantine era, this fortress has served as a guardian of the historic harbor for countless centuries, witnessing various wars and passing through the hands of numerous conquerors who left their imprints.
The castle's historical references date back to the 12th century when King Richard the Lionheart of England conquered the island, including the castle. However, it was during the Venetian rule in the 16th century that the castle took its current form, undergoing renovations and additions according to the military architecture standards of that era.
Behind its formidable high walls and round towers, built during the Venetian period, lies an impressive complex of structures. Upon entering through the main castle gate, a narrow corridor leads to the 12th-century chapel of Saint George, a Byzantine church with a dome, featuring a cross-in-square layout supported by four Corinthian marble columns. Further into the castle, the inner courtyard reveals various buildings along its four sides, including storage areas, dungeons, vaulted rooms, exhibitions, and royal apartments.
Of particular interest is the Shipwreck Museum, housing the ancient Kyrenia ship. Discovered on the seabed near Kyrenia's port during the 1960s, the wreck is considered one of the oldest and best-preserved merchant ships in the world.
Serving as a living museum, the castle recounts the tales of its former conquerors and inhabitants. Its picturesque surroundings add to its character, while the interiors offer visitors a glimpse into the historical grandeur of the city and the wider region of Cyprus.