Kyrenia Castle

Dominating the little city of Kyrenia, on the northern coastline of Cyprus, Kyrenia Castle is still considered as one of the most well-preserved fortified settlements on the island. 

Originally built during the Byzantine era, this fortress has been watching over the historic harbour for many centuries. It existed through wars, and passed into the possession of many conquerors who left their mark. 

The first historical references concerning the castle date back on the 12th century, when King Richard the Lionheart of England conquered the island and with it the castle. However, the Franks renovated the castle by adding chambers and royal apartments, while the castle in its current form dates back to the 16th century and specifically to the period of the Venetian rule, when the fort was transformed according to the standards of the military architecture of the time.

Behind the imposing high walls and the round towers, that were constructed during the Venetian period, it is hidden an impressive complex of constructions. Entering through the bridge at the main entrance of the castle, on the left side a narrow corridor leads to the 12th century chapel of Saint George. It is a Byzantine church with a dome, having a cross-in-square layout and it is supported by four Corinthian marble columns. The corridor then leads to the inner courtyard, with the various buildings arranged along its four sides, including storage areas, dungeons, vaulted rooms, exhibitions and royal apartments. 

Particularly impressive is the Shipwreck Museum that houses the ancient ship of Kyrenia. The wreck was found on the seabed, near Kyrenia's port during the 1960s. Nowadays, it is considered as one of the oldest and best-preserved merchant ships in the world.

Like a living museum, the castle tells the story of its former conquerors and inhabitants. Its picturesque surroundings add to the castle’s character, while the interiors will immerse visitors in the historic magnificence of the city and extensively of Cyprus.

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