Welcome to St. Hilarion Castle:
One of the three castles which were built by the Byzantines and Crusaders was St Hilarion Castle. This one is the best one that was preserved by these individuals. This castle is located on the Main Kyrenia-Nicosia highway and is situated on the west of Kyrenia Hill. This castle is open for all the visitors but having specific timings based on the time period of the year. It is open for the visitors from around 08:30 am to about 05:00 pm during the summers, while being open for the visitors from around 08:30 am to about 04:00 pm during the winters with a charge of about 2 per person.
This amount is charged in order to collect money to be spent on the preservation of this castle regularly. The most amazing part of this castle is the walls and towers which are usually seen to spring out of the ground randomly out of rocks. An author has described this castle best in the book named as “a picture-book castle for elf-kings”. The name of this particular author is “Rose Macaulay”.
There are rumors about this castle that Walt Disney used this castle while generating the image of the castle used in Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Local myths about this castle dictate 101 rooms of this castle out of which one can easily count 100 rooms. The last one is the most beautiful garden also known as the enchanted garden and contains the treasures of the Queen who once lived in this castle. Shepherds and the huntsman which are thought to be killed in the castle due to the spell cast on the garden is thought to have a tendency to get alive after a hundred years.
The History of St. Hilarion Castle:
The history of this castle is quite complex in the sense that the castle has seen a number of battles and quite a jumbled up history. St Hilarion was thought to have fled from Palestine and was a little hermit who left his own original home town in order to settle here and die here. After the hermit died here, Byzantine constructor created a monastery around his grave which was later converted into a fort. This much importance was given to this person due to the fact that this person was thought to have been fighting with the local demons of this area for a long period of time and saving the inhabitants from these dangers.
In the Year 1191:
Due to the stronghold of this castle and almost, the most difficult of the castles to be damaged was the last one to be conquered by the crusaders in the year 1191. These individuals then reconstructed the castle and made its fortification stronger to keep their ground safe from the other individuals attacking the area. This fort was a sign of conquering of this island hence a long war of about four years was fought between Roman Emperor Frederick II and regent John. This battle was at the end won by the forces of John gaining his control over the area. This final battle was fought in the area of Agirda.
In the Year 1373:
In the year 1373, this castle again got a lot of importance due to its role played in the killing of Peter I by the hands of Queen of that time. This castle was then thought to be useless by the veteran due to the improvement of technology and more powerful battle equipment. However, in the year 1964 during the war between Turkish-Cypriots. During this war it was proven that the castle is not so much weak as being considered for a long period of time, hence gaining importance of its formal glory once again. Hence the Turkish moved to make this castle as their headquarters. These individuals moved on to the castle on July 20 in order to gain access to the surrounding area.
This castle is not very much visited by the tourist but can be approached by walking on a dirt path from the main highway. While walking at this path one can see a number of signs asking for stopping there or even to move back. These signs were placed there by the Turkish Forces during the time of control over the castle. This castle is not allowed to be visited on civil traffic after the sunset hence the tourists are usually asked to go back by the local guides. This castle does have uneven ground, hence a simple beach or pool wear will not help you during your visit here.
While entering the castle you will notice a number of things, things such as the lower ward, this was the area where these Turkish forces used to keep their horses during their control. Moving further you will cross the gatehouse and the tunnel leading you to the middle of the castle. Fire in 1995 has damaged this castle a lot but the roofing due to the height has survived the effects and shows the original markings of the creators. An arched gate will lead you to the upper enceinte. One can move from here to the highest towers which have a height of about 732 meters. Moving further into the castle one can observe the royal apartments.
Internal link: https://turkish.co.uk/st-hilarion-cast…-nicosia-highway/
Outbound link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Hilarion_Castle