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Photographer's Note

The spectacular castle of St. Hilarion, overlooking the sea, with Kyrenia in the distance. St. Hilarion is in Northern Cyprus, which is de facto a separate country from the Greek south. Its official local title is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, TRNC for short, Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti in Turkish. However the TRNC is not officially recognised anywhere in the world apart from Turkey; North Cyprus has, since 1974 been considered occupied territory. Over the last few years the border has become increasingly easy to cross, although both sides remain coy as to where the crossing points actually are: no signposts, etc. We spent a few days in the North recently. It certainly has spectacular areas, as I hope this photograph shows.

Saint Hilarion was originally a monastery, named after a monk who allegedly chose the site for his hermitage, with a monastery and a church built there in the 10th century. Starting in the 11th century, the Byzantines began fortification. Saint Hilarion formed the defense of the island with the castles of Buffavento and Kantara against Arab pirates raiding the coast. Some sections were further upgraded under the Lusignans, who may have used it as a summer residence. During the rule of the Lusignans, the castle was the focus of a four-year struggle between Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and Regent John d' Ibelin for control of Cyprus.

The castle has three divisions or wards. The lower and middle wards served economic purposes, while the upper ward housed the royal family. The lower ward had the stables and the living quarters for the men-at-arms. The Prince John tower sits on a cliff high above the lower castle. The church lies on the middle ward. The upper ward was reserved for the Royals and can be entered via a well-preserved archway. Farm buildings are located in the west close to the royal apartments. Along the western wall, there is a breathtaking view of the northern coast of Cyprus, overlooking the city of Girne (Kyrenia), from the Queen's Window. That may be a future posting, as not surprisingly, perhaps, I became a bit trigger-happy here.

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Additional Photos by Will Perrett (willperrett) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1068 W: 304 N: 3013] (13797)
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