St Hilarion Castle

This amazing Castle is only 15 minuted by car from the Pine Grove Villa. This tourist attraction offers you some of the highest views on the island, another reason why Northern Cyprus is the place to Visit. This fairytale castle, said to be Walt Disney's inspiration for the film "Fantasia', occupies the mountain-top that overlooks Kyrenia.

Originally the site of the castle was the abode of a hermit named Hillarion upon which a monastery was later built in his honour. The building was later fortified by the Byzantines and the castle existed in conjunction with Kantara and Buffavento, along the northern coast, with the aim deterring attacks from seafaring Arabs.

During Lusignan rule the castle was Grander and was also used as the king's summer residence. The castle fell into disuse during Venetain times due to the development of new military technology which made its up keep unnecessary.

The castle is named, not after St. Hilarion the Great, the founder of monasticism in Palestine who died near Paphos about A.D. 371, but after a later saint, of whom little is known. He is counted among the three hundred saints who according to local tradition, sought refuge in Northern Cyprus when the Arabs overran the Holy Land.

The date of its construction is not recorded, but probably it was in the late 11th century. Alternatively, the building of the castle may have formed part of the measures taken by the Emperor Alexis I for the greater security of the Island, following a serious revolt in 1092.

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