Historical in Girne

The Tomb of Omar

The Tomb of Omar

Hazreti Ömer Türbesi, Girne

The Tomb of Omar – Four kilometers to the east of Kyrenia, on the coastal road to Catalkoy, is the tomb od Hazreti Omar. The small Hazreti Omar mosque and tombs house the remains of a 7th century commander and six other Muslim holy men. Many tales and myths rela’ng to Hazreti Omar have been handed down to the present day. According to one, Omar was a company commander in the army of Umayyad caliph, Muawwiye. In one of Arab raids Omar and his soldier set foot on Cyprus at the very spot where the tomb now stands and there they fell to awaiting Bypantine forces. After the skirmish their bodies were interred in brick built tombs. After the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus in 1571 rumours led to the rediscovery of the tomb and a shrine was built to the north west of the cave in which they were reinterred. In time, a masjid(small mosque) was built wgich encompassed the tomb and around it rooms were built for an imam, a caretaker and visitor to the tomb.

buffavento castle cyprus

Buffavento Castle

Voufavento, Çatalköy, Girne

Buffavento Castle is situated on the top of the Five Finger Mountains range at a heught of 950 metres. It was built as a defence against Arab raids and as a signals post. It has been variously known as “The Lion Castle” and “The One Hundred and One Houses”. During the Lusignan Period (1192-1489) it was used as a prison and this is when it was known as “The Lion Castle”. The name Buffavento was given to it by the italians and means “Defier of the Winds”. An ancient myth relates that there were 101 rooms in the castle and that whosoever passes through the door of the lost  101st room would inherit a treasure.

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St. Hilarion Castle

St. Hilarion Castle

St Hilarion, Kyrenia, Girne

The castle is the main castle in Cyprus and one with the most impressive architecture. The name of the Saint Hilarion castle, also known as Dieu D’Amour belongs to a saint who is believed to have lived here. The second name came about with a word trick that was liked by many in the Middle Ages. In the old times this area was known as Didymos (twins) because of the two peaks that were separated by a valley. This name was mispronounced by the first Latin settlers and the name Dieu D’Amour became widely used.

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The Karmi Bronze Age Cemetery

The Karmi Bronze Age Cemetery, Kyrenia

Close to the hillside village of Karni (Karaman) is a Middle Bronze Age necropolis where chamber tombs have been carved out of the rock. On the wall of an access passage of one tomb the relief of a female figure has survived. This is the earliest relief of a human figure discovered on the island so far and it is believed to represent a fertility goddess. Also discovered in one of the tombs was a Minoan “Kamares” cup and blue faience beads from Egypt which are thought to be gifts to the dead and which suggest very early trading relations with crete and Egypt. The artifacts that have been discovered are believed to have belonged to seamen who worked on the ships at nearby Lapithos (Lapta). Based on this information we can understand which countries the early inhabitants of Cyprus were trading with.

The Church of Antiphonitis

Antiphonitis Kilisesi, Bahçeli

The beautiful church is situated in a wooden valley about 8 km south of the village of Esentepe and can be reached from Esentepe or the village of Bahceli. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the church was constructed in the 12th century. The narthex on the western side and the arcadeon the south side were both added during the Lusignan Period. The church was once the centre of an important monastery. In terms of basic plan, the building is in the Byzantine style. However, the architecture in unusual for Cyprus suggesting that it was built by local craftsmen and builder. The dome of edifice rests on eight stone columns which form an octagon and four of the columns are attached to the wall. The frescoes which adorn the church were painted in two separate periods. The wall frescoes have suffered damage or have been removed from their original positions but are nonetheless remarkable. The oldest of these frescoes date from the 12th century, the more recent ones are from the 15th century. Some of the frescoes retain their brilliant colour and portray the saints and scenes from the Bible. The dome depicts a representation of the Christ Pantokrator and John the Baptist. The twelve apostles seated on their thrones and images of prophets are also represented.