The Northern Cyprus city of Kyrenia is a jewel just waiting to be discovered. Kyrenia is not a big town in terms of population; just over 13,000 people live here, but it’s packed with history and charm.
The harbour at Kyrenia
The coolest place to be in Northern Cyprus in the summer is the Kyrenia harbourside, and with good reason! Sea breezes mix with cooler air from the nearby mountains, creating a great place to escape from the heat and dust of North Nicosia in the height of summer. So, needless to say, Kyrenia harbour is always busy in summer, its cafés packed with visitors and locals alike enjoying the unique atmosphere. You’ll need to get there early if you want to bag a waterside table for either lunch, or a romantic dinner beside the water’s edge.
Kyrenia Harbour Hotels
There are a few hotels near Kyrenia Harbour. We recommend the three-star British Hotel overlooking the harbour and the four-star Dome Hotel, only 2 minutes walking distance to the Kyrenia harbour.
Both these hotels can be booked online at www.KyreniaHotels.co.uk
The views at Kyrenia harbour
Once you’ve found a table, which might take some time, you’ll understand another reason why the harbour at Kyrenia is so popular – it’s lovely! Kyrenia harbour is an elegant horseshoe shape, so nearly every café table has a great view over the water. Expensive yachts bob up and down in the marina next to working fishing boats, still wet from trips into the Mediterranean Sea. From here, cruise boats will take you on trips to some of the lovely beaches in North Cyprus.
Kyrenia harbour cafés
The cafés themselves are as historic as their surroundings, being housed in old carob storage warehouses. At one time, carob beans were a major export for Cyprus, sold all over the world as a substitute for chocolate. Now the warehouses bustle with life again as waiters dash to and fro, bringing you a cold beer, some nibbles, a cake, a Turkish coffee, whatever you need to relax. Like most great café locations around the world, Kyrenia harbour is a place where you should sit, savour, and enjoy. After all, you’ve come here to chill out! Cafés include Carob, Café 34 and Café Harbour.
The history of Kyrenia harbour
There has been a settlement at Kyrenia since the 10th century BC, but the harbour today was shaped most by the Venetians. When they gained control of Cyprus in 1489, the Venetians fortified the island against possible invasion by the Ottoman Empire. At that time Kyrenia was the most important port on the northern Cyprus coastline, a little too close to the mainland for the Venetian’s comfort. So, they build impressive defences for the town, although when the Ottoman invasion did come in 1571, the Venetians gave up without a fight!
The Venetian castle at Kyrenia
Today, the somewhat time-scarred Venetian castle of Kyrenia guards over the harbour like a benevolent grandfather, whilst the robust Tower marks the entrance to this little harbour of calm. The long, thin breakwater juts out into the sea like a long, crooked finger, beckoning in weary sailors past the Marine Martyr’s Monument situated opposite the harbour entrance. The Custom House still dominates the west corner of the harbour, commanding an excellent view of any boats entering Kyrenia harbour. Originally a chain gate was stretched across the old harbour entrance from here to the Tower, preventing enemy ships from forcing their way in.
Kyrenia Harbour Full Moon
photo by: Suleyman Enguzel
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