Kyrenia

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The castle at Kyrenia
Kyrenia (Turkish: Girne, Greek: Keryneia / Κερύνεια) is a town in northern Cyprus, part of the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The town is known for its historic harbour, and as one of the first places captured by Turkey during the 1974 invasion of the island.

In its heyday the town harbour was lined with warehouses in which were stored the fruits of the countryside whilst they awaited export. The harbour is currently used largely for pleasure craft, and the buildings are now mostly all restaurants, with outdoor tables along the water. A larger harbour is located a few miles east of the town centre, used by commercial shipping and ferries from the Turkish mainland.

The castle at the east end of the old harbour is a very spectacular site and within its walls there is a twelfth century chapel showing reused late Roman capitals. The inner courtyard is vast and in one of the rooms leading off it is the Shipwreck Museum, exhibiting the remains of a 4th century Greek ship, discovered by a Greek-Cypriot diver in 1967, salvaged not far from Kyrenia together with its cargo. The Kyrenia ship as it is called, was extensively covered by the National Geographic Society.

The town has an icon museum housed in a church which was dedicated to the Archangel Michael, not far from it there are some tombs cut into the rock dating from about the 4th century, there is a ruined small Christian church behind the harbour and in the harbour is a small tower from which a chain could be slung to close the harbour to any enemies.

In 1974, Kyrenia was the first town that was captured during the invasion of the island by Turkey. Its Greek Cypriot inhabitants fled at the time to the south of the island, where the internationally-recognized government of Cyprus was still in power. Since then it has been under occupation by the Turkish army, de-facto TRNC. Kyrenia at present is populated by Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers. Kyrenia at present is populated by Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers.

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