Cyprus - Saint Hilarion Castle

We walked across the border in Nicosia into the Turkish occupied north and negotiated for a taxi to whisk us to Kyrenia and other sites along the northern coast of Cyprus.  The taxis were more expensive than quoted in our guidebook due to the increasing cost of fuel.  We ended up paying 90 Turkish Lira for a one-way ride to Kyrenia with a detour to St. Hilarion Castle.  St. Hilarion was a hilltop fortress well over 1000 years old.  Our car wound its way up the mountain and we soon saw the fortress hewn into the rock.

The taxi dropped us off for an hour and a half.  The driver was quite trusting as he did not demand payment before dropping us off.  We soon started to climb...
We looked down at the seaside town of Kyrenia on the northern coast.
The green mountains housed various Turkish military bases.
The ruins blended in really well with the surrounding countryside.
We started our ascent on a smooth rock staircase.
We were rewarded with even more spectacular views (despite the smog).
St. Hilarion and its fortifying wall seemed to spill down the hillside.
We arrived at an old chapel.
We were able to pop into various nooks and crannies in the structure.
I felt like we were perched at the top of the world.  You can see why St. Hilarion was a good defensive location.
We continued our ascent to the second level of St. Hilarion.  The path became rougher the higher we went.
Once again, we were able to admire the ins and outs of the structure up close.
We looked down toward the entrance to the fortress giving a bit of perspective on how far we'd come.
I've never seen any place like this before.
We continued our climb - it was quite a slog!  We were rewarded at the top with a broken sign proclaiming: "Congratulations!  You are at the Peak"  Hooray!
Looking down, we could see the car park below.  We had come a long way up!
We retraced our steps down the precarious winding path.
We detoured here and there to explore the ruined structures.
We slowly descended, drinking it all in.
We were quite thirsty at this point from the exertion of climbing.  Fortunately, there was a small cafe on level 2 selling homemade (albeit overpriced...) lemonade.  So good...  We enjoyed our refreshment and then met up with our driver for the onward journey to Kyrenia!

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Sidewalk Safari: Cyprus - Saint Hilarion Castle
Cyprus - Saint Hilarion Castle
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