Kyrenia, also known as Girne, has always been governed by the sea. Its natural harbour, once coveted by anyone with dreams of empire and bustling with traders and exporters, is today just as popular with visitors whose only desire is to stroll the seaside strand and hop on a boat cruise around the bay.
Kyrenia’s history goes back 5800-3000 BC and the earliest reference to Kyrenia was found in Eygptian scripts dating back to 1125-1100 BC during the time of Ramesses III
With a beautiful harbour surrounded by former carob warehouses which are now cafes and restaurants, Kyrenia Castle and museum and the narrow twisting streets of the Old Town.
The 19th-century Archangelos Michael Church, with its white bell tower rising up above the surrounding harbourside buildings, displays icons dating from the 18th and 19th centuries is nearby and close to ancient Greco-Roman Tombs, carved into the rock face, and usually partially obscured by parked vehicles, are thought to have been used in the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Chysopolitissa Church, a small roofless ruin which is Kyrenia’s oldest church, dating back to the 1500s. It’s usually kept open so you can check out the two intricately carved wood beams inside. The Ağa Cafer Pașa Mosque was built in the 16th century by Cyprus governor Ağa Cafer Paşa. St Andrew’s Anglican Church, built in 1913, this unassuming, whitewashed church still holds Sunday services for Kyrenia’s small Anglican community of foreign residents.This is the perfect place to explore, look out to sea whilst enjoying a cool drink.
Recent modernization in the main high street has seen an increase in shops and now makes for a pleasant few hours browsing these, together with the more traditional shops with their qwerky charm.
For those with more time to explore Bellapais Abbey, the National Struggle Museum, St Hilarion Castle, Buffavento Mountain walk and Nicosia (Lefkosia) Walled City are all worth a visit.