Monday, June 16, 2014

Saint Hilarion Castle

The Saint Hilarion Castle (also known as Saint Hilarion Kalesi) is located near Karmi Village and about 7 km from the city of Kyrenia, within the Kyrenia district of Northern Cyprus.


Originally, this castle was built as a monastery in the 10th century, and it's named after the monk, Hilarion, who sought refuge in the mountains and continued to live there as a hermit.

During the 11th century, the Byzantines started to fortify this site into a castle, which was continued by the Lusignans.  

According to a sign at the site, "At the time when the castle of St. Hilarion was the residence of the Lusignan kings, tournaments must often have been held in the valley below the walls.  Tilting with blunt spears a favorite sport of the medieval knight, in which he gained practice for war and honour for his skill.  From the centre pavilion, the tilting is watched by the lady of the tournament, who awards prizes to the victors.  The smaller pavilions are those of the competing knights."

During the 15th century, most of this castle was dismantled and then neglected by the Venetians. 


Today, the Saint Hilarion Castle is considered the best-preserved mountain top stronghold in Northern Cyprus.  

According to a brochure at the site, "The Walt Disney production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was inspired by the St. Hilarion Castle.  The towers used in many Disney animations are very similar to the towers of the castle.  The mystical image of the castle has inspired many artists as well."

The Saint Hilarion Castle along the Kyrenia mountain range, and it's divided into three main levels: lower, middle, and upper.

The lower level, which is located on the southward slope below the rocky summit, is the largest section, and it included the stables and living quarters for the soldiers.

The middle level, which is located on the main section on the eastward side, included the church and monastery buildings, as well as the royal palace with nobility housing.

The upper level, which is located between the twin tops of the summit, was reserved for the royal family with the royal apartments, and this area includes the Queen's Window and Prince John's Tower.

The Saint Hilarion Castle consists of lovely castle ruins that might need hours to explore all the ancient buildings, as well as hike the numerous steps towards the highest tower.

Site: Saint Hilarion Castle. 

Category: Archaeological Site. 

Location: Near Karmi Village and about 7 km from the city of Kyrenia, within the Kyrenia district of Northern Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 0533161276. 

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Monday to Sunday, during summer months.  9:00 AM to 4:30 PM on Monday to Sunday, during winter months. 

Entrance Fee: €2,50. 

Date of Visit: 2013.

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