Back in January of last year, I met my mom for nine days of vacation in Istanbul and Cyprus. We didn’t have much time on this little island, just two days and some family friends to meet, but those two days were days to remember. We spent one afternoon climbing Saint Hilarian Castle and another day walking here, through the ancient Greek ruins of Salamis.
The weather was beautiful, the ocean was lapping against the shore in the background and the sky was a bright cheery blue. As far as iPhone pictures go, these turned out about as well as I could hope. (But yes, I’m still kicking myself for not getting a DSLR already! Argh!) Sadly, my memory is a little foggy and I can’t tell you exactly what all these pictures are of exactly, but hey, they’re still pretty. That counts for something right? And I remember which picture is of the ancient Roman toilets. Good enough!
Did you know I went to Cyprus? And I barely even told you about it, shame on me. Almost a year later, I’m going to make this up to you. While I was in Cyprus, I wandered through the ancient ruins of Salamis (I just probably put those pictures up, too…) and spent lots of time with some family friends that live on the island. They introduced my mom and I to a gorgeous castle on a mountainside: St. Hilarian Kalesi. I can’t help but say the word “hilarious!” immediately following mention of the castle’s name. I dare you to try it and not do it ten times in a row.
Some history (thanks Wikipedia): the castle began as a hermitage site and then a church during the 10th century, and finally it became a castle. Once it was a castle, you know how castles with excellent lookout points go… people fight over them, over and over. Some 500 years later, people starting taking it apart to reduce the upkeep of the building. I presume the ceiling was about to fall in and they figured it was easier to just pull out the ceiling and give everyone winter coats than build a new one. Jerks.
In order to get to the castle (located in Northern, Turkish Cyprus), you need to drive there and past several military installations and soldiers. If they’re doing training in the mountains, you may have to choose another day to head up to the castle. If they’re not, you’ll probably have the entire place to yourself, except for the random Brit that seems to show up at all those deserted European sights, alone. Uncanny.
Looking back, I really wish I would have bought a DSLR camera already, my iPhone does zero justice. I guess I’ll have to return! And to anyone thinking of visiting the Turkish side of Cyprus, it’s highly recommended and although Wikipedia describes it as “illegal and internationally-unrecognised”, I can assure you it’s also quite safe.