The bustling port town of Kyrenia is backed by a narrow band of mountains. Day-to-day life focusses on a horse-shoe shaped harbour filled with boats and yachts, all flanked by a water-side promenade with lively restaurants, bars, tavernas, and hotels.
It is an ancient place, founded according to legend at the end of the Trojan War by colonists from Peloponnese islands. It subsequently developed through maritime trade with Asia Minor and the Aegean islands. During its heyday, the port would have served scores of Greek and Turkish merchants and fishermen, seeing a significant portion of the island’s wheat, olives, cheese, butter, silk, and other finery pass through.
Kyrenia castle and its defensive seawall were built by the Romans in the Byzantine era – extensive catacombs are built into the structure and are the last resting place of the islands early Christians. The castle has subsequently passed through several hands, receiving extensive modifications under Venetian and Ottoman rule. Today it houses the shipwreck museum, with the remains of a 4th century Greek Ship extensively studied by the National Geographic Society.