Saint Hilarion Castle
Located on the western peak of the Pentadaktylos mountains, the remnants of Saint Hilarion's castle stand in an impressive location, surrounded by steep and majestic rocks.
The exact date of the castle's construction remains uncertain, but it is believed to have been built in the late 11th century, along with the other two castles of the Pentadaktylos mountain range, Kantara, and Buffavento. Together, these three castles overlooked the Mesaoria plain and guarded the northern coasts, protecting the island from sea raids.
The castle, as well as the mountain peak, derive their name from Saint Hilarion, who is said to have lived on this steep and difficult-to-reach peak until his death. To honor him, the local inhabitants erected a Byzantine church in his name, which later became part of the fort.
Originally serving as a watchtower built by the Byzantines, the Castle of Saint Hilarion was transformed into a castle during the Frankish era when it was used by the royal family as a summer retreat. However, by the end of the 15th century, during Venetian rule, the fortress, like Buffavento and Kantara castles, was abandoned and eventually fell into ruins.
The castle is composed of three units built on different levels. The lower level is surrounded by the Byzantine fortification wall, while the middle part contains the most significant remains, including the royal palace, the kitchen with its vaulted ceiling, and the remnants of Saint Hilarion church, dating back to the 11th century. A steep path leads to the highest level, where the arched Lusignan Gate and a courtyard are found. This section comprises two complexes: the two-story narrow building of the royal apartments dating to the 14th century and the auxiliary chambers.
Once an imposing fortress, the ruins of Saint Hilarion Castle now appear as if sprouting from the mountain's summit. Considered one of the most impressive heritage sites on the island, with a captivating history, it is a perfect spot for exploration.