Kantara, is situated at the Eastern end of the Kyrenia Range (2,068 ft.). It is
26 miles North of Famagusta reached
via Iskele and Ardahan villages. The castle
is 2 miles east of the summer resort which is also called Kantara (1,800 ft.).
Kantara means a bridge or arch
in Arabic probably so named by the Arab invaders in the past. In fact the whole
setting of the terrain looks like an arch and it certainly commands excellent
views of the seas on both sides and of long stretches of plain all around it. It
was originally built by Byzantines against the invasions of the Saracens. The Lusignans
called it Candare or La Candaire. They remodelled and enlarged these
The Castle is entered from the
east where the cliff is less steep and allows an access. The entrance is about
in the centre of the eastern outer wall and was protected on both sides by two
rectangular towers of which only tile parts survives.
In the south tower are now
arranged the latrines. The outer wall ended to the North and the South in two
shoe-horse shaped tower with loopholes. Climbing the steps, the visitor having
entered the barbican reaches the inner entrance of the castle which is in the
centre of a strong wall which ends in two huge towers at the North and South.
The visitor entering the inner entrance and turning to the left comes to the
Southeast tower , a large rectangular room covered with a cross vault. The
basement of this room, which has now been turned into a cistern for rain water
storage, was , at first used as a prison. Leaving this tower the visitor comes
to a vaulted room . Following the path to the south comes to a range of three
vaulted chambers with loopholes. At the Southeast end of those chambers is the
Mediaeval latrine. Following the path to the Southwest the visitor sees the
remains of the South wall and on the right a shoe-shaped cistern .Further to the
west on the left are the remains of a tower and on the right the remains of
other chambers and cisterns.
The west part of the southern
wall of the castle ends in a shoe-horse shaped tower and continues at the west
of the cliff with three vaulted climbers. In the most Southerly chamber there is
a small gate which was used by the garrison in an emergency. In the Northern
side of the West part there are another two vaulted chambers.
Following the steep path on
left are the remarks of the Byzantine
Northern wall with cisterns and other ruined chambers. From here the view of the
Northern Coast of Cyprus is majestic.
Leaving the Northern wall of
the Castle that entrances the steep cliff, the visitor may visit the chamber on
the top of which the South wall with its beautiful window stands almost intact
(2068 ft.) The Mediaeval Guard of the Castle used this tower not in order to
enjoy the view but in order to exchange messages with the guard on Buffavento
Descending the tower of the
summit to the North-East direction the visitor arrives at the North-East two
storeyed tower which commands the entrance and control the movements in the
North Sea. An entrance in the Eastern Wall leads to the shoe-horse shaped
vaulted tower. The top floor of this tower ended with a rectangular chamber.
Leaving this tower the visitor following the path on his left, comes to the
inner entrance of the Castle.