St. Hilarion Castle, Kyrenia
Set within a rocky outcrop overlooking the town of Kyrenia is the magnificent St. Hilarion Castle. It was built in the 11th century to help defend the island against the Arab Raids that blighted this part of the Mediterranean for more than 300 years. Today, its strategic location offers visitors an inspirational view across the North Coast of Cyprus and beyond.
St. Hilarion is named in honour of a hermit monk who is said to have fled to Cyprus following Arab persecution in the Holy Land. Not much is known about the monk, but it is believed that he took refuge on this hilltop until his death. A monastery and church were founded here in the 10th century in honour of St. Hilarion before the castle's construction.
The castle itself is a maze of paths, staircases, tunnels and hidden rooms that offer adventure and excitement for all the family. Its construction is on three levels, the main castle buildings being situated on the middle level and accessed via an impressive gatehouse. Here, visitors will find the royal palace, the kitchens, vaulted loggia and magnificent church complete with annexes.
From the upper castle level, which is reached via a steep meandering path, visitors can walk up onto the castle's ramparts some 732m above sea level. The famous "Queen's Window" is also found in this part of the castle.