History and Facts
History and Facts
The castle of Kyreniais found on the east side of the port of in the city Kyrenia. The city of Kyrenia is located to the north of Cyprus which is under illegal occupation since 1974. The castle was found to have been built by the Romans during the 7th century BC. Evidence found shows the castle was built to protect and guard the city against invaders like the new Arab maritime threat. The castle has gone through many rules but the first mention is in 1191. This is when King Richard I captured Cyprus.
After some time, King Richard then sold Cyprus to the former king of Jerusalem. This is where the Frankish ruled started and the castle started to change. From its original small size, the former kind, John, enlarges the Castle during 1208 until 1211. The use of the Castle remained the same, military, but the addition of the castle had more uses. The addition had a new entrance and also consisted of 2 horse shaped towers, dungeons, a square and embrasures for archers.
Over the years the Castle was under attack and had many damages to it. In 1373 the attack form the Genoese almost completely destroyed the castle. This was the longest and most brutal sieges which lasted nearly 4 years, up to the 15th century.
In 1489 the Cyprus was under the Venetian rule and in 1540 they too made changes to the Castle. Yet again the Kyrenia Castle was improved by extending it, which is how it currently looks. The additions made were adding embrasures fir cannons and gun ports at all three levels for ease of access to fire guns and cannons. Also, on the inside of the Castle they added long ramps to be able to take military weapons and artillery all the way up. A small church of Saint George is also found encircled in the grounds of the Castle, which is believed to have been built between the 11th and 12th century
During the Ottoman rule in the 1570, there were more changes done to the Castle which were later removed by the British during their rule. This is why the Castles is as it was during the Venetian rule. The British used the Castle for military headquarters and as a military training school and later on as prison for members of EOKA. Inside the Castle you will also find the tomb of the Ottoman Admiral Sadik Pasha.
The Castle has been open to the public since 1960. However, during the 1974 Turkish Invasion of Cyprus, the Department of Antiquities and Museums of Kyrenia took over.
The Castle has a moat on the shore side that was full of water during the 14th century AD, which was also a harbour to the Castle itself. Walking inside through the north-west entrance with the bridge that spans along the moat, you then go through the vaulted corridors and come to the entrance of the Lusignan Castle. To the left you will find Saint George church which had domes resting on marble columns.
One corridor leads to the tomb and the other leads to the large inner courtyard. The courtyard is lined with rooms; guardrooms, living quarters and stables. The arched rooms on the east and north are a prison and royal guard rooms respectively.
A shipwreck museum is also found in one of the rooms off the inner courtyard. This museum has the remains of the Greek merchant ship dated back to the 4th century BC. It is one of the oldest ships wrecks we have in Cyprus that was recovered with its cargo too. It was full of wine from Rhode and Kos islands of Greece, amphorae and milestones and they were coming to back to Cyprus. The investigations which were done during 1969 until 1974 by a team from a University in America, had found it to be 80 years old when it sank. The ship is 47 ft long (14m) and is made of Aleppo pine and sheathed in lead. The ship can be found in the museum which is being preserved in a controlled area to keep the ship in good condition.