In Northern Cyprus, there is a coastal town named Kyrenia and in this town, you will find one of the best historical landmarks in the Cyprus: an ancient castle, the St. Hilarion Castle – Northern Cyprus.
St. Hilarion Castle – Northern Cyprus is located between the cities of Kyrenia and Nicosia, on the western side of the Kyrenia – Nicosia main thoroughfare.
The best way to reach St. Hilarion Castle – Northern Cyprus is via your own car hire service or renting a taxi for the day. While there are public buses in Northern Cyprus, these do not have regular runs to Kyrenia.
Simply follow the signs along the Kyrenia – Nicosia highway to get to the base of the castle. The car park is located at the base of the castle and you will have to go up on foot to reach the castle grounds.
What to See and Do
Touring the St. Hilarion Castle – Northern Cyprus generally entails visiting its three ward divisions: the Lower Ward, Middle Ward and the Upper Ward.
At the Lower Ward, you can see the fortifications or ramparts that were put in place to defend the main entry point into the castle. This is by far the biggest ward of the castle as soldiers whose job was to protect the castle from invasion, and their respective steeds lived here.
The most interesting part of the castle is the Middle Ward as this is where you will find the royal residence, a huge church and the castle’s kitchen area. From the Queen’s Window, you can get good views of the Lower Ward and the surrounding area.
On the other hand, the most intriguing part of the castle is the Upper Ward as from its highest point; Bulgarians suspected of devising plots against the Prince were thrown off to die.
There is a small cafe next to the main entry point that sells refreshments. Toilet facilities are also in place for the convenience of visitors.
St. Hilarion Castle – Northern Cyprus was actually named after a little-known saint who was said to have lived in the city when he and three hundred other people escaped from Arab forces who have taken over the Holy Land.
The actual date of construction of the castle remains unclear but common assumption traces it back to the 7th century during the Byzantine rule. The first actual reference to the castle came in some time in the year 1191 when Richard the Lionheart conquered the castle and the city.
Entry fee into St. Hilarion Castle – Northern Cyprus is pegged at approximately 5 YTL per person.
St. Hilarion Castle – Northern Cyprus is open from 9 in the morning up to 6 in the evening during summer; and 9 in the morning up to 4:30 in the afternoon during winter.
The climb up the hill leading to the castle is quite steep hence; guests are advised to wear comfortable shoes, bring umbrellas and walking sticks.