St. Hilarion Castle - Kyrenia




The finest and best preserved of three Byzantine/Crusader castles in North Cyprus. Its towers, walls and gateways spiral and melt into the peaks of the Kyrenia mountain presenting a fairy-tale sight. Rose Macauley described it as 'a picture book castle for elf-kings' and legend persuades us to believe that it was the inspiration for Disney's castle in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

The modern visitor will not have to endure the same difficulties which faced the Crusaders when they finally stormed the castle in 1191, they can drive up and enter through the imposing gate for a small fee. A challenge still awaits inside since the castle is built on three levels ascending to the very top the mountain. Plenty of interest on the way slows the ascent, the Byzantine chapel, the banqueting hall which is now a balconied café, Prince John's tower and, for those with energy left, the royal apartments on the upper level with the beautiful Gothic-tracery windows.