Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kyrenia Castle and Shipwreck Museum

The Kyrenia Castle (also known as Girne Kalesi) is located near the Kyrenia Harbor in the city of Kyrenia, within the Kyrenia district of Northern Cyprus.
 
 



In the 7th century, it was built by the Byzantines on the site of a Roman Fort, in order to protect the city from Arab attacks.

Over the years, the Kyrenia Castle has been renovated, enlarged, and utilized by the Lusignans, Venetians, Ottomans, British, etc.
 





The Kyrenia Castle is considered one of the most impressive and strongest castles to survive to the present day.  Within the current castle, there are various rooms and towers, as well as a main courtyard.

Some of the castle highlights to explore include the Saint George Byzantine Church, dungeons from the Lusignan period, Venetian Towers, Lusignan Tower and Great Hall, Kyrenia Archaeological Museum, Neolithic Settlement of Vrysi Village Museum, Akdeniz Village Tomb,  Kyrenia Shipwreck Museum, etc. 

 



The Saint George Church was built in the 12th century by the Byzantines.

According to a sign at the site, "Originally built as a Byzantine Basilica in design of a cross, it was later converted into a church.  It was enlarged by a later addition of a narthex in the Lusignan period....  Part of mosaics on the church floor have survived to the present day.  The church which had originally been outside the Castle in both the Byzantine and Lusignan periods, was later enveloped by the new walls into the Castle in the Venetian period.  In this period, the dome was removed and the church was utilized as a passage to the northwest tower.  The dome was later rebuilt in the British colonial period." 




The Kyrenia Shipwreck Museum (also known as the Ancient Shipwreck Museum) displays the remains of a Greek merchant ship that sank in a storm over 2,300 years ago about a mile from the Kyrenia Harbor.  This ship is considered to be the second oldest sunken ship to be recovered in the Mediterranean.

According to a sign at the site, "Used as guardrooms during the Lusignan Period, this space now exhibits a trading ship, belonging to the Hellenistic Period, and her cargo.  The evidence point to her being taken by rough seas around the 300 BC, when she was 80 years old.  She sank in open waters a mile from the anchorage of Girne.  The objects in the museum are the original ones carried on her during her last voyage about 2300 years ago."

There's a replica of this ship on display at the Thalassa Sea Museum in Ayia Napa.
 


The Kyrenia Castle is a delightful place to explore, particularly the Kyrenia Shipwreck Museum, and there are lovely views of the city and sea from the castle rooftop.


Site: Kyrenia Castle. 

Category: Archaeological Site and Museum. 

Location: Near the Kyrenia Harbor in the city of Kyrenia, within the Kyrenia district of Northern Cyprus.

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Monday to Sunday, during summer months. 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Monday to Sunday, during winter months. 

Entrance Fee: €4,50. 

Date of Visit: 2013.

Saint Barnabas Monastery and Museum

The Saint Barnabas Monastery is located near Tulza Village and the Salamis Archaeological Site, within the Famagusta district of Northern Cyprus.
 


Barnabas lived in ancient Salamis, and he preached the gospel message throughout Cyprus, particularly in Salamis around 45 AD.

In 477, a monastery, financed by Byzantine Emperor Zeno, was built near the apostle Barnabas' grave, which is situated on the western end of the Salamis Necropolis and near the Royal Tombs.

 




Two centuries after the Saint Barnabas Monastery was built, it was destroyed during an Arab raid, and only the foundation of the original building still remains.

In 1756, the current monastic buildings were constructed.
 
 


 
Today, the Saint Barnabas Monastery serves as a historical site with two museums: Archaeological Museum and Icon Museum.

The Archaeological Museum focuses on ancient artifacts from throughout the region, particularly from the Salamis Archaeological Site, which will be featured in an upcoming blog post.

The Icon Museum includes various icons, particularly from the 18th century, gathered from the village churches throughout the Famagusta district, as well as from the Saint Barnabas Monastery.
 



The Saint Barnabas Monastery is an enjoyable place to explore, and the Royal Tombs are situated nearby.


Site: Saint Barnabas Monastery, Icon Museum, Archeology Museum, and Royal Tombs. 

Category: Archaeological Site and Museum. 

Location: Near the Salamis Archaeological Site, within the Famagusta district of Northern Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Monday to Sunday, during winter months, 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Monday to Sunday, during summer months. 

Entrance Fee: €2,50. 

Date of Visit: 2013.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ledra Street

Ledra Street is located in the city of Nicosia, within the Nicosia district of Cyprus.


 





It's a popular shopping street with plenty of retail stores, tourist shops, cafes, and takeaway restaurants.  Ledra Street was named after the ancient city-kingdom of Ledra, which was once situated in the Nicosia city area.

This shopping street ends at a Green Line checkpoint, as well as one of the entrances to Northern Nicosia and Northern Cyprus, which will be featured in future blog posts.

In 2008, this immigration checkpoint was opened and provided another place to cross between Cyprus and Northern Cyprus.  Today, Nicosia is the last divided capital in Europe.
 
 



 



Ledra Street is an enjoyable area to shop and explore for locals and tourists.


Site: Ledra Shopping Street. 

Category: Shopping. 

Location: The city of Nicosia, within the Nicosia district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: N/A. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2009 to 2013.

Platania Picnic Site

The Platania Picnic Site is located about 6 km from Kakopetria Village, near the Platania Forest Station, in the Nicosia district of Cyprus.
 



The Platania Picnic Site is a popular place, especially while exploring this area of Cyprus.


Site: Platania Picnic Site. 

Category: Nature. 

Location: About 6km from Kakopetria Village, within the Nicosia district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: Daylight hours. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2011 and 2013.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Petra tou Romiou Park

The Petra tou Romiou Park is located near Aphrodite's Rock and Petra tou Romiou Beach, within the Paphos district of Cyprus.
  



This park is part of the Randi State Forest, and it's under development.  So far, the Petra tou Romiou Park has a restaurant, two playground areas, basketball court, and various nature trails.  

The Petra tou Romiou Cafe and Restaurant is situated overlooking Aphrodite's Rock, which will be featured in a upcoming blog post.  There are lovely views along the nature trails, too.








The Petra tou Romiou Park is a delightful site to explore, especially when visiting Aphrodite's Rock.


Site: Petra tou Romiou Park. 

Category: Nature. 

Location: Near Aphrodite's Rock and Petra tou Romiou Beach, within the Paphos district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 22942746 and 22805533. 

Operating Hours: Daylight hours. 

Entrance Fee: Free, yet the restaurant's menu prices vary. 

Date of Visit: 2014.