Kantara Castle

Kantara, Cyprus

Very little is known of the Kantara castle's early days. It is thought to have been built by the Byzantines, probably after the last of the Arab raids in the late 10th century. However there are no remains or records dating from that time. Its first mention was in 1191, during Richard the Lionheart's Crusade to the Holy land. It was at Kantara that the self-styled king, Isaac Commenos, sheltered before surrendering to the English King.

In the 13th century, the castle was remodelled by the Lusignans, and during the next few hundred years, the castle often served as a shelter for defeated barons and kings. When the Genoese conquered Famagusta and Nicosia in 1373, Kantara remained undefeated in the hands of the King. It was here too, that Prince John, the king's brother, fled, disguised as a cook, after his escape from the Genoese. The story goes that the prince, having been captured in Famagusta with the rest of the Royal Family, was imprisoned in irons. With the aid of his faithful servant and cook, he escaped, dressed as the cook's scullion, with an old cooking pot over his head, and carrying a frying pan which he was supposedly taking to be re-tinned. After the peace treaty with the Genoese, Kantara was further re-fortified. Most of the castle that we see today dates from around this time.

When the Venetians took over the island in 1489, the castle continued as an important garrison for the defence of the area. However, the art of warfare was changing, and the Venetians strengthened the fortifications at Kyrenia, Famagusta and Nicosia. The castle was abandoned in 1525, though there are records showing the castle as still fortified in 1529. However records show the castle in ruins by 1562.

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

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Trudi Smith (8 months ago)
Unspoilt. Amazing views. They are relaying the road to it from iskele so be careful. Amazing history. Take water.
Erik Kukk (10 months ago)
Amazing view to east part of peninsula. Drive to the Mountain is well worth taking
Salah-Eldin Essam (12 months ago)
An amazing view. It's one of the best places in Cyprus.
nele (18 months ago)
Super interesting and impressive castle, absolutely worth a visit if you want to discover the history of Cyprus and it’s unique monuments! And additionally you have an incredible view on Cyprus and Karpas coasts.
Kseniya Chek (18 months ago)
This is my number one in the Northern Cyprus. First of all this is the castle that was built 1000 years ago. Second thing is the spectacular view and the opportunity to see the Northern sea and the Eastern sea, the valley and the other mountains. It's incredible. Richard the Lionheart was there in the castle. You are making the steps on the ways he used to do. The walls are impressive. Strongly, strongly recommend.
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