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.

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