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The picturesque little horseshoe harbour of Keryneia (Kyrenia) in the northern part of the island, currently under Turkish military occupation, is full of Mediterranean charm. A jumble of buildings squeeze up next to each other overlooking the water.
The old Byzantine castle standing guard at the harbour entrance, built to protect the island from Arab raids, now houses a museum with one of the oldest shipwrecks known. The boat, which sailed the Mediterranean during the time of Alexander the Great and his successors, sank off the coast of Keryneia (Kyrenia) about 2300 years ago and was found by a Cypriot diver in 1965 complete with its cargo of nearly 400 amphorae and jars of 9000 almonds which were found perfectly preserved.
The splendid Keryneia (Kyrenia) mountain range, also known as the Pentadaktylos or Five Finger mountain range, whose foothills come down to the sea, forms a wonderful backdrop to the town. A series of fabulous castles are perched on strategic peaks along the range, with St Hilarion overlooking Keryneia (Kyrenia) itself, and Buffavento and Kantara no less spectacular further along. As its name suggests, Bellapais abbey in the hills to the east of Kyrenia town, is a place of peace, built during the 13th century AD by French Augustinian monks and made famous by Laurence Durrell in his book "Bitter Lemons".