January 18, 2009

St. Hilarian castle named to a saint, who is believed to have lived here. This castle was also involved in the protection chain from attacks by the Arabs including castles in Kyrenia, Buffavento and Kantara.
The castle have the most impressive architecture, with its three main sections built in 3 different levels. 1st section is build for soldiers and the castle coworkers and - contains cisterns, stables and other structures. 2nd section consists of royal apartments, kitchen, church, barracks, hall and different rooms. 3rd section consists of internal garden and steep stairs-way that reach you to the top.

It is said that Walt Disney production of "Snow White and 7 Dwarfs" was inspired by the St. Hilarian castle. The towers used in many other Disney animations are very similar. Due to the mystical image of the castle, it inspired many other artists as well. Charm to enjoy the castle including trekking never diminishes, I have visited this castle twice so far. Who can forget the views from old royal apartments to the modern royal apartments (downside the Kyrenia - swimming pools and beautifully designed village), Mutfak Kitchen, being at the top of the castle and many more eagle eye-views.

Even some of us chanting "Jai Mata Di (Remembering the Indian way of trekking over religious places)", "Badhe Chalo (Keep on going)" and many more slogans to encourage each other.
Don't forget to capture the snap along with celebrity message board ( 732 m - CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE AT THE PEAK :-) You should have water and snacks with you, and give sufficient time to enjoy here. Although it will took approx 1 hr to reach at the top of the castle and 40 more mins to come down without any break including some snap-time. The entrance ticket is 4 Euros.

I think, this castle will remain the visitors attraction and inspiration of art lovers because from each and every side/corner of the castle, you have magnificent sights to the nature. You can think of that you are watching the Kyrenia map on a larger scale without using Google-maps. After this we follow the roads to Lapta village, a worth place to drive and capture the various natural scenery on both sides along the way.
Wanna to have a look to other castles and places in North Cyprus.

January 7, 2009

Quote of the post: “Much of Cyprus is an outdoor museum, but only here is so much historical interest concentrated, that is a showplace for all.” - www.famagusta.com

Famagusta - Gazimagusa (The Ghost Town), was famous for a small commercial port and fishing village. It also suffered the combined catastrophes of earthquakes and raids by Arab pirates. It is a region which contains historical remains and cultural signs of various civilizations.

Most of the fortification can still be seen, and Beware of ! You may divert/drive to nearby military base area. The main St. Nicholas cathedral was turned into a mosque (Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque), and the nearby bazaar and market places were developed, can still be seen.

If you are in Famagusta, just execute the following commands in sequence - (Enter, Roam around, see, do, buy, eat, drink, sleep, Exit). There is no scheduled public transportation available, so it would be better to have a car/taxi (If you don't have a private tour/excursion).

This tourist heaven, also known as a center of science university city, hosts a largest university of the island. You can enjoy the world famous Famagusta Cultural & Arts Festival in the month of June-July.
In a nutshell, if you spent one full day in Famagusta, will reveal the history of Cyprus.

Just some Km away, You can also roam around the famous place Salamis Ruins. If you just go towards Bafra, you can even enjoy the golden sandy beaches there. Wanna to have a look to other places in North Cyprus.

January 6, 2009

Kyrenia Harbour is an evergreen place to visit. View to the harbour, from the top of the Kyrenia castle is really soothing and touching. You can watch the array of yachts, boats at the inside circumference of the harbour, looks like the semi-circled moon.
But during summer, it is fully packed, sometimes in the evening, you may not get the blank space in the restaurants, bars and have to wait for a long time. The Kyrenia Castle adds beauty to it.

You can have a short Mediterranean walk from here on the boats, yachts. We enjoyed the harbour till the rear end. It is the central place for visitors coming North Cyprus. You will never bore here and enjoy the nights in the pubs, bars, restaurants, Casino with music and dance.

You can enter here just walking through the charming Kyrenia Town-Center (Downtown) and have all reasons to enjoy, to relax, to roam, to eat and to drink. Kyrenia Harbour is a horseshoe shaped full of colorful surrounding and appreciated for its natural beauty. Where else you want to be!

I enjoyed here during summer (Easter) and winter (Christmas) both times. You shouldn't skip it in your NC trip. Wanna to have a look to Kyrenia Castle and other places in North Cyprus.

January 5, 2009

This castle was built to protect the town against raids from the Arab. Kyrenia (Girne) castle structure changed at time to time. Using the Byzantium style of fortification, a new entrance, square and horseshoe-shaped towers, embrasures for archer, and dungeons were added. From 1974, the Department of Antiquities and museums has been responsible for all aspects of castle's preservation and use.
We directly reached here from Nicosia. You can easily search for the place if you are coming by Kyrenia town center way. Beside it, there is car parking place (If you are coming from back). Other way to reach here is, Park your car near Kyrenia Municipality, walk the Kyrenia harbour and at the end you can see the big castle. You can get the tickets above stairs (6.5 Euros per person).
We taken many photographs here. See "Dil Chahta Hai" (Bollywood movie) style photograph and other group photographs. I missed it during my first visit to NC. I have visited this place in the day as well as night time. You can get entry inside the castle only until 3:30 pm.

You will always see the crowd all around and have the drink/food in the nearby restaurants, bars. You can view the amazing Kyrenia harbour view from top of the castle. From each side/corner of the castle, you can enjoy panoramic and soothing views. Even some of us (me 2) trying to hold the castle on our hands (just for a creative pose :-)

You can visit the east wing, exhibition hall, Lunsignan Tower, Dungenos, Venetian tower, and Shipwreck Museum inside it.
Wanna to have a look to other places in North Cyprus.

January 4, 2009

Ruins of Salamis (Salamis Ruins) is situated alongside the sandy beach. Salamis was known as the important ancient city in NC and famous for its ruins. It was ruined due to raids, earthquakes, and tidal waves.
You need plenty of time to visit it because it is approx 1 Km long site to see. The crowd was enjoying here and came for the picnic (As we saw near the car parking area). When I visited NC first time, we were late. So just taken some snaps from outside and enjoyed near the promenade (pier) area. I think last entry timing is 4 pm approx.
You can watch out - the amphitheater, the Gymnasium, mosaics, the Roman baths, ruined pillars, inside it. The amphitheater is sometimes used as a living venue for theater and concerts to show north Cyprus tradition. Have a hat/cap to cover the head during summer season.
Salamis is an easily reachable destination from all parts of NC - Kyrenia, Famagusta, or Iskele, and famous among the tourists here.Wanna to have a look to other places in North Cyprus.
Just from the Cayirova point, we decided to go Bafra beach. You have to take right turn just after some meters. It is quite peaceful place and wow.. golden beach! , and good roads to reach the point. The village is still developing there and we see the construction of new restaurants, buildings, hotels going on.
As we park our cars, we feel to be somewhere in UK. Actually we park our car near KayaArtemis Resort and Casino. Later googling, I found that, this hotel is the reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis (in Ephesus, Turkey - one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) capable of over 700 rooms.

In the meantime, we had some golden memories of golden beach. Everyone was running towards the sea promenade area. If we heads up, it was the clear sky, If we heads down it was the cystal clear water all around.

Some of us visited inside the KayaArtemis, it was even more beautiful from inside. At some point, it feels that the whole area is floating over the sea. We taken many beautiful images here.

"KayaArtemis Resort Hotel & Casino is the largest hotel in the island in terms of room capacity. With the four season-warm climate, untouched shoal as far as the eye can see, exotic beach, sparkling sea, identical architecture with the historic Artemis Temple, 726 rooms which are enriched with luxurious facilities, 3000 m² Las Vegas-type casino, shopping centre, swimming pools, spa and beauty parlours, business centre, conference rooms and all other enticing features; Kaya Artemis is as breathtaking as it is astonishing."
Source: http://www.gonorthcyprus.com/kaya-artemis.asp
If you want to enjoy golden beaches, prefer to stay somewhere in Famagusta and enjoy the golden beach moments. Wanna to have a look to other places in North Cyprus.
Buffavento Castle is located in northern Cyprus. It means in Italian “Defier of the Winds”. The winds can reach quite high speeds in its exposed location at 950 metres above sea level. It stands in the middle of the Kyrenia range castles, with St. Hilarion Castle to the west and Kantara Castle to the east, all of which were built as a defense against Arab raids. As both of the other castles are visible from Buffavento, it was used to pass signals between them. It also controlled an important pass through the mountains. It was used as a prison in the 14th century. The lowest part of the castle was probably built by the Byzantines in the 11th century. This base was expanded upon by the Lusignans in the 14th century. It is not regular in shape as it makes use of the mountain itself for its defense. During the Venetian control of the island, Buffavento fell into disuse as the coastal castles of Cyprus, such as Kyrenia and Famagusta, were seen as more important. Source: http://www.reference.com/search?q=Buffavento

It is known as the highest mountain castle (approx 950 m) above sea level among three castle in Kyrenia. St Hilarian (approx 732 m) and Kantara Castle (approx 630 m) are the other ones. It is also said that it is most cleverly constructed castle among these three.
It is also known as 'The Hundred Houses of Rigaina'.


We approached through Nicosia and easily found the directions from the round about. We visited this place in summer (my first NC Trip). In the way, we found many picnic spots and enjoying people. You can heal your eyes while watching the greenery and from the top of it the panoramic views of Kyrenia, Famagusta, Nicosia, and Trodoos Mountains

Roads to reach the place, are also not good. Just near the parking area, there is a broken memorial - "In the memory of those who perished in the air crash 27-02-1988".
There is a suicide point and view to Kyrenia was magnificent. While climbing, Sumit have a query to other trekkers - "Is it worth going up and ... ?" and everyone (Vinay, Mrunal, Praveen, Sandip, Ajay, Anil, and Saurabh including me) was busy in hilarious photo shoot.

If you have enough time to visit NC, or if you are interested in trekking then visit it. Because most of the parts of castle are ruined and no-one seems to be care about it (least preserved), Otherwise you should prefer to visit St. Hilarian (In my opinion - As I have visited both). Bring your snacks and drink with you, because there is no shop, restaurant or bar avail nearby. There is no entry fee to the castle. Wanna to have a look to other castles and places in North Cyprus.

January 3, 2009

This Shipwreck museum is inside the Kyrenia Castle. Some of us had some tea, coffee, snacks break after roaming all four sides of the Kyrenia Castle. You can buy the souvenirs from the shop inside the castle.

You can find some more visual arts inside the museum that let you understand the Girne castle structure and surrounding areas. The remains of the ancient ship can be viewed at the Shipwreck Museum, that was put as the heritage.

In some visual arts it is shown that how the work carried out to lift the Shipwreck to the surface. How expert scuba divers worked to accomplish the mission. Other than that you can find different shaped lamps, old age life representation at the nearby village, model of burial site, gold jewelry  coins and various ceramics. Some of us were capturing the snaps such that we 'seem to be roaming in the old age village'. I found it worth watching at least once (average).

Wanna to have a look to other places in North Cyprus.
Bellapais Abbey is the most famous place for its architectural treasures. It is situated over the beautiful mountain village that adds beauty to it. This was the place that I really missed during my first visit to NC. At one side you can admire the cloud touching mountains and the another side, Kyrenia city alongside the vast sea. There are easy ways to get this destination, if you follow the road-signs.

At time to time construction work took place here, if you see the history of this abbey and Kings keep on renaming it during their periods. I am not going into the history. Sometimes you can even enjoy the concert inside the abbey. Basement of Bellapais abbey invites the lovers of art and other lovers :-) You can really enjoy the photo frame pictures from every point of abbey.  

All the snaps shown here were initiated as single. Wanna to know why I am telling this. Reason is pretty clear that one person asked for the single snap till the time he gets ready and photographer clicked, the group was in the foreground. ha ha. So single converted into group ones. This was really fun-filled time and we carried on this till the end of NC trip.
It looks even better in the night when the lights on. You can even witness it from almost any part of Kyrenia city. You can even enjoy the Bellapais Festival - A unique music experience at the breathtaking atmosphere of the Bellapais Abbey in May - June. It is known as a masterpiece of Gothic art.

Just FYI, ticket entry fee is 5 Euros (when we visited) per person. You can get group discount and even lesser, if you are student. I would suggest that Ballapais abbey is must see for the visitors of NC in any season, be it winter or summer.Wanna to have a look to other places in North Cyprus.

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