Cyprus, Nicosia

Kyrenia castle: what awaits the traveler inside?

Updated: 2 months ago

Kyrenia Castle is a historical and architectural masterpiece that occupies an important place in the cultural heritage of Cyprus.

Located in the heart of Girne, or Kyrenia, this castle is the main attraction not only of the city but of the entire northern part of the island. It witnessed many historical events, and today its walls contain a lot of interesting things.

Киренийский замок


The castle was first built by the Byzantines in the 7th century to protect the city from the new Arab naval threat. It’s believed that construction was carried out on the remains of an earlier Roman fort. Subsequently, each conqueror of the island, from Richard the Lionheart to the Ottomans, made his adjustments to the structure of the castle.

The first written mention of the castle dates back to 1191, when the English king Richard I captured it on his way to the Third Crusade, removing Isaac Comnenus, a local ruler from the throne, who proclaimed himself emperor of the island.

The Byzantine structure of four towers connected by walls was subsequently re-fortified and expanded by the Lusignans, but the current appearance of Kyrenia Castle mainly dates from the period of Venetian rule in Cyprus, starting in 1489.

The Venetians were concerned about the possibility of an invasion of Cyprus by the rapidly growing Ottoman Empire and began to fortify Cyprus, including Kyrenia Castle. The walls were enlarged, thickened, and fortified to withstand artillery attacks and withstand any siege. However, this didn’t help - the Ottoman Empire took the castle and fortified itself in Cyprus for several centuries.

Read also about other castles fortified by the Venetians:


The castle contains a cistern, a dungeon, a chapel, and two small museums, and the real highlight is a walk along the ramparts overlooking the harbor.

Castle History Museum

The museum in the courtyard displays an exhibition telling the history of the castle. and the region as a whole. The exhibits recreate the atmosphere of different eras and tell about key events in the history of the castle and Cyprus.

Shipwreck Museum

As well as offering a fascinating insight into the history of Cyprus and stunning views, the castle is home to the Northern Cyprus Shipwreck Museum, housing one of the most important and best-preserved pieces of maritime history.

This is the wreck of a Greek merchant ship from the 4th century BC, which was accidentally discovered by a sponge diver during a storm in 1965. At the moment, this is the only surviving ship from the classical era of Greece.

The items on display at Kyrenia Castle are originals that were on the ship during its last voyage: amphorae, almonds, grain, and household items for the ship's crew.

Church of St. George

Inside the castle, there is also the Church of St. George, built by the Byzantines in the 11th or 12th century. The church is located entirely inside the building; it is very difficult to find it from the outside.

Киренийский замок гавань


What are the opening hours of Kyrenia Castle?

The castle is open to visitors throughout the year; in winter it is open from 9:00 to 17:00, and in summer from 9:00 to 19:00.

Is there a cafe or restaurant inside the castle?

Yes, there is a cafe on the castle grounds where visitors can relax and enjoy local cuisine. The cafe is located near the entrance to the museum.

How to get to Kyrenia Castle?

The castle is located near the Harbor, in the center of modern Girne. You will find the point on the map below. There is free spontaneous parking near the fortress wall, and there is also paid fenced parking nearby.

Киренийский замок (Kyrenia Castle)
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