St Hilarion Castle
The most romantic ruin in the Med?
There was already a well established castle on this high, inaccessible mountain when Richard the Lionheart came in the 12th Century.
In more recent times, it gave Walt Disney the inspiration for the palace in Snow White & the Seven Dwarves.
The castle consists of an outer, a middle & a central bastion, each of which can be defended separately.
According to our guide book (Bradt), the castle had its exposure to modern warfare too, serving in 1964 as a stronghold for Turkish Cypriots. Such were the castle's defences, even in ruin, that a garrison of boys was able to ward off the Greek attack.
The apse of the Church in the middle bastion is overshadowed by Prince John's Tower.
Originally a monastery dedicated to St Hilarion stood in this site. Subsequently a Byzantine castle was built surrounding it which was then substantially enlarged by the 11th Century Crusaders.
At the centre, high point of the castle were the royal quarters with magnificent views across the island, looking West.
Looking North & East.
So many different views.
The castle is in ruins, because when the Venetians took over the island in the 15th Century they centred their defensive position round the port of Kyrenia & decided to destroy all the other Crusader castles, so that they could not fall into the hands of an insurgents.
The Kyrenia range of mountains are on the right., where - out of view - is Buffavento castle.
I liked the Congratulations sign!