As we drove west from the Karpaz Peninsula, we set our sights on visiting Kantara Castle. Of course, the Karagöz puppets (Karagöz oyunları) were over the moon about the idea of visiting a castle beginning with the letter K. They are sometimes a little simple & silly about those things.
As we meandered through the valleys and mountains dodging sheep and goatherds and not much else, most of the puppets at on the back seat window ledge watching it all fly by. Karagöz, on the other hand, daredevil that he is, strapped himself to the front bumper and screamed “Geronimo!” all the way up the mountains towards the castle.
I did not see much of the ride up to the castle because the roads were winding – full of switchbacks – that my anxiety set in tremendously. M. was much more along the lines of Karagöz, reveling in the crazy driving and wishing he was in his hunter green MG. Reminding me still, that it was my idea to sell that car as it broke down so much.
But, marital car debates aside, when I did take my hands off of my eyes the views were amazing. We only met one other car on the way down and were both able to screeched to a halt before some intricate maneuvering allowed us to pass one another.
As we reached the top of the mountain, we passed a series of lovely but clearly abandoned estates. We guessed that these estates were British, based on the modern design and opulence with which they were built. Given the high temperatures seen in Cyprus most of the year other than November December and January, when it is only in the 70s (F) we imagined that this would be the perfect summer spot. Gentle breezes and magnificent views abounded.
There is a small parking lot at the base of the castle with three or four Turkish – Cypriot gentlemen listening to old – fashioned Turkish music blasting from a car. They were extremely friendly and the rate for admission was low. Although there is not much by way of interpretation that we might see in other locations, a helpful hand out is available.
Oh – and the puppets? As soon we parked the car they flew up the mountain dashing around the rooms running up and down the stairs and oggling the views. As these puppets were born in the 13th century – visiting a castle built in the 10th century was pretty exciting for them. We didn’t break it to them that most of what we were seeing or renovations from the 15th century.
This castle is one of three across the mountain ridge that centers Northern Cyprus – these castles were built to be able to warn one another (via large bonfire) of attack across a large swath of territory. Think: Lord of the rings – style.
We’ll let the pictures do the talking – but highly recommend that you bring a picnic lunch and sit atop the castle enjoying the magnificent views of both the Mediterranean Sea and the Cypriot countryside below.
We are still waiting for Karagöz himself to come down from the mountain!