Commanding the Mesarya Plains

Of the three crusader castles on the Five Finger Mountains, Kantara lies furthest to the East.

At 700m above sea level, it commands the Mesarya Plains and Karpaz Peninsula.

Whilst it is widely believed that the castle was built to protect the coastline from Arab raids that took place in the 7thcentury, the first time Kantara is mentioned in written records is when Richard the Lionheart conquered Cyprus in 1191. 

In 1391, the castle was re-fortified by King James when it had extensive walls built around it. When the Venetians took over the island in 1489, the castle continued as an important garrison for the defence of the area.

Yet as the art of warfare changed and the Venetians strengthened the fortifications at Kyrenia, Famagusta and Nicosia, the mountaintop castles gradually fell into obsolescence.

A visit to Kantara today reveals the ruins of old defensive emplacements, accommodation facilities for soldiers, water cisterns, vaulted rooms, watch towers and of course breath-taking views of the northern shoreline.