Kyrenia Harbour


Kyrenia harbour, Girne harbour

Kyrenia harbour, Girne limani  copyright

Kyrenia (Girne in Turkish) harbour is a must visit place for anybody on holiday in Northern Cyprus. It has the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea to the North and breathtaking mountain line providing a stunning backdrop behind the city and the harbour to the South. Another popular visitor attraction is Kyrenia castle which can be found dominating the north east corner of the harbour.

The harbour features many Venetian buildings and structures which included several warehouses and a tower. During the 17th century, local products like carobs were exported from these warehouses to other countries by sea. Today most of the warehouses have been converted into restaurants and bars.

Located on the Western entrance of the harbour is the Venetian tower and around this area you will find many shops selling Turkish Cypriot wares like hand made bowls, jewellery, keyrings and postcards to carpets.

During the day, all along the harbour you will also come across small stalls where you can book excursions like a relaxing day out on a yacht to scuba diving lessons or 4×4 adventures.
Kyrenia harbour booking office

Kyrenia harbour booking office  copyright

Just outside the harbour, to the west there is a children play park and more shops. At night you can sometimes see small table top sellers selling a range of souvenirs and goods as well as a candyfloss seller who has been a regular there for many years.
Candyfloss maker

Candyfloss maker  copyright

Kyrenia harbour at night
View of Kyrenia castle from the harbour at night

View of Kyrenia castle from the harbour at night  copyright

At night and especially at the weekends Kyrenia harbour really comes alive and becomes a bustling place which is especially popular with the tourists. Here you will find a variety of bars and restaurants serving meals from freshly caught fish, lobsters or calamari to kebabs, Italian foods which including pizzas and spaghetti as well as traditional Turkish food and meze’s.  You will be spoilt for a choice of wines, beers and cocktails. It becomes a whole new place at night and is a wonderful place to spend the evening soaking in the views and atmosphere.

Kyrenia harbour at night

Kyrenia harbour at night  copyright

Exploring around Kyrenia harbour
Once you’ve taken in all the sights along the harbour why not explore the cobbled back streets where you can visit the Aga Cafer Pasa mosque, which can be reached by walking up the cobbled street right next to the Harbour Club restaurant.
Cobbled street to Aga Cafer Pasa mosque

Cobbled street to Aga Cafer Pasa mosque  copyright

This mosque was built soon after the Ottoman conquest of 1580 by a local landowner and general Aga Cafer Pasa. The minaret is solidly built of local stone and can be seen from various places in Kyrenia.
The mosque is situated next to a local spring around which a stone fountain has been built. This spring is used for the washing of feet before entering the mosque. On the wall of the fountain there is a commemorative tablet written in ancient Turkish.
Aga Cafer Pasa mosque minaret

Aga Cafer Pasa mosque minaret  copyright

Aga Cafer Pasa spring

Aga Cafer Pasa spring  copyright

The steps to the right hand side of the spring which lead up to the main street above were built in 1876 by Abdul Effendi, who was the local Turkish administrator and Mayor at the time.
And of course right on the corner of Kyrenia harbour you will find Kyrenia castle, which is another must visit attraction. Kyrenia castle also holds a historic shipwreck within its walls.
Kyrenia Castle

Kyrenia Castle  copyright

 More about Kyrenia castle can be read on this dedicated page: Kyrenia Castle
 If you continue up the hill to the left of the Aga Pasa spring you will reach a crossroad. Down to the left will take you to the castle entrance straight ahead and down the hill will take you to beneath the castle, you can walk back round to the harbour this way. If you turn right and continue up the hill you will come across St Andrews Church.
St Andrews Church, Kyrenia

St Andrews Church, Kyrenia  copyright

This charming church is nestled away behind the castle. It was built in 1913 and is still very much a part of the community today. It’s congregation includes people from various countries and cultures. Although it’s only a small church it’s a cool and quiet place to rest and relax.

St Andrews Church Kyrenia

St Andrews Church in Kyrenia  copyright

If you carry on up to the top of the Hill past St Andrews church you will come to Kyrenia square just to the left of this square you will see the old Ottoman graveyard.


Baldoken Ottoman cemetery,  Kyrenia

Baldoken Ottoman cemetery, Kyrenia  copyright

Baldoken cemetery was built around 1571 by the Ottoman’s when they conquered Cyprus. Baldoken or “Bal” “doken” in Turkish translates to “pouring of the honey”. “Bal” means honey and “doken” or “dokmek” means to spill or pour. When first built, this cemetery was reserved for soldiers. However over time non soldiers were allowed to be buried here and it is also referred to as the Islam Graveyard or the “Graveyard of Forlorn”.


Baldoken Ottoman cemetery, North Cyprus

Baldoken Ottoman cemetery, Kyrenia  copyright

Along with ancient gravestones you can find an old cistern and some lovely nice pine trees to relax under and in amongst the trees stands a very interesting stone building with a dome. This building was once used to hold and prepare the bodies during ceremonies prior to burial.
Baldoken Ottoman grave yard cistern, North Cyprus

Baldoken Ottoman grave yard cistern, North Cyprus  copyright

The history of Kyrenia & Kyrenia harbour
Kyrenia (Girne) 1300 A.D.

Kyrenia (Girne) 1300 A.D. by William Dreghorn, B.Sc., Ph. D. (Lond.)

The history of Kyrenia harbour is quite an extensive and interesting one.

The original Roman port was situated just East of the current one but unfortunately very little remains now except for a Roman breakwater which today is part of the modern pier.

Throughout the Middle Ages and the Crusader Period, from about 1200 A.D. to 1500 A.D.,  the the main trade routes to the East were through the Mediterranean. During these times Venice and its merchants became very wealthy and so they extended and built much of what we see around the Harbour and the great castle of Kyrenia which was built to guard their trade.

Not long after this a new sea route was discovered to India by going past South Africa which caused a decline in trade both in Kyrenia as well as other ports in the Mediterranean.

This didn’t mean trade fully came to a stop in Kyrenia, some small trade did still continue. Most notably spices, silk, jewellery, dyes, timber, wool, and in particular the trade was in carobs still continued. Carobs were in big demand as they were used for horse fodder.  At the time horses were the main method of travel and carting goods the main transportation method.

Then in 1570 the Ottoman Turks took control of Kyrenia and the town remained under their administration until 1878.

During this time the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 , once again ushered in a great boom in trade for ports in the eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus once again became an important trading post. To accommodate this, a new jetty, was built on the western side of the harbour. The jetty was built using large quarried blocks of stone.

The Cyprus Convention of 4 June, 1878 saw the Ottomans sign over the control of Cyprus to Great Britain in exchange for their support and formation of a Convention of Defensive Alliance. This informal agreement came to an end when Britain and Turkey found themselves on opposing sides during World War One. In 1955, the Greek Cypriot EOKA campaign led to a state of emergency, Turkish troops then invading and ultimately the division of the island in 1974.

Kyrenia (Girne) 1600 A.D.

Kyrenia (Girne) 1600 A.D. by William Dreghorn, B. Sc., Ph. D. (Lond)

Photo’s of the harbour

Kyrenia harbour

Kyrenia harbour

Kyrenia harbour  copyright

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