Buffavento Castle

Kyrenia, Cyprus

At 955m above sea level, Buffavento castle stands the highest of the three crusader castles in Cyprus. It probably originated as a Byzantine watch tower to guard against Arab raiders in the 10th century. The castle was extended during the Lusignan rule (1192–1489). The Lusignan kings used the castle mainly as a political prison. In particular, Peter I when reluctantly warned by his friend John Visconti of the queen's infidelity, repaid the favour by imprisoning and torturing him at Kyrenia, and later locking Visconti up at Buffavento to starve to death. By the 16th century, the castle was dismantled by the Venetians in an attempt to protect themselves, as their focus moved to the strongholds along the coast at Kyrenia and Famagusta.

From the seaward side, the castle is almost invisible, and the best long distance view is from the Nicosia side, where you can clearly see the remains of the castle bulging out from the top of the mountain. On the top level there are remains of a few buildings and a ruined chapel. However, the climb is worth it for the views alone, taking in Kyrenia, Famagusta, Nicosia and, on a good day, the Troodos Mountains.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Kyrenia, Cyprus
See all sites in Kyrenia

Details

Founded: 10th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Cyprus

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Laura & Stuart Hildersley (5 months ago)
The views are definitely worth the long climb, but the steps are excellent. Unrestricted opening times and free to visit, you can go later in the afternoon, after other places will have closed.
Attila Elliott (7 months ago)
Buffavento is a real must see and visit place! This fortress is situated on a peak and You can approach it on a very long trail from the parking lot. Very important! Take enough water with you especially if You take children with yourself! The fortress itself is in very good shape let's say unmolested! The scenery is hilarious You can spot the sea in various directions! There is no entrance fee anyway. The fortress is full of empty rooms and sometimes You cannot imagine that the place is a ruin because of its excellent condition. If You visited Buffavento and you liked it do not miss to visit the fortress of Cantara and Saint Hilarion You will like them also!
Sotiris (7 months ago)
Lots of stairs but amazing view. Go during a weekday for less tourists around
Yiota Prp (7 months ago)
Amazing view from up there!
Linas Sasnauskas (12 months ago)
Amazing! The best castle in the Cyprus! There are not many castles left, but the image to go towards it is unbelievable!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Steinvikholm Castle

Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.

The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.

The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.

From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.

Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.