Kantara Castle

The word “kantara” means “arch” in Arabic. The easternmost of the three castles on the Five Finger Mountains, the Kantara castle is in fact perched upon an arch, about 700 metres above sea level and can be reached via Iskele, commanding impressive views of the surrounding bays on both sides of North Cyprus - and across into Turkey and sometimes even Lebanon too on a clear day.. Well-positioned to control the entrance to the Karpaz peninsula and The Mesaria plain, the castle it is thought to have been built by the Byzantines following the Arab raids on the island – but, like the other two castles, St. Hilarion and Buffavento, written sources first mention the castle in 1191, when Richard Lion-Heart captured the island.

Throughout the Lusignan and Venetian periods, frequent mention of the castle is made, as castle is involved in many battles during this period. Then, during the era of the Genoese attacks in Famagusta, Kantara Castle turned into a refuge for those fleeing the fighting. Although the Venetians later took control of the island, the castle began to fall into disrepair during the 16th century due to being so remote.

As you explore the castle ruins, you will discover a picturesque collection of dormitories, medieval latrines, a cistern, vaulted rooms, and a signal tower.