On the way to Karpas from Famagusta, the largest settlement in the
area is Iskele (Trikomo). The town is mainly inhabited by the Turkish-Cypriot
refugees from Larnaca (now in south Cyprus) who relocated to here
after 1974.The quaint 15th century Byzantine church of St. Jacob
(Avios Iakovos) dominates the center of the town.
Iskele icon museum is another main attraction in the town. Iinaugurated
in 1991, the 12th century church of Panagina Theotokos (Blessed
Virgin Mary) is preserved by the Department of Antiquities and Museums
as the icon museum.
Iskele and the vast Karpas peninsula with the virgin beaches, attractive
wildlife and ancient churches and ruins offers ideal place for those
seeking peace and quiet.
The region also houses the wild Cypriot donkeys who gaze care-free
in the nature. In the recent years there has been controversy between
the environmentalists and the authorities on how best to control
their population in a more sustainable way.
Iskele is also famous for its annual festival during summer, as
well as the Mehmetcik (Galatya) Grape Festival both major regional
cultural events attracting visitors across the island.
ICON MUSEUM OF ISKELE
This museum was inaugurated on 23rd May, 1991 in the main church
(Panayia Theotokos- Blessed Virgin Mary) of the village as a result
of work carried out by the Department of Antiquities and Museums
of the Ministry of National Education and Culture.
The church housing the museum was built in the early 12th century.
It originally had a single isle and a dome, with arched recesses
on the side ward. Such churches represent the popular church architecture
of 12th century in Cyprus.
In the 15th century a vaulted aisle was added on the northern side
and at a later date an extension at the west. The church was soundly
repaired in 1804. A carved railing (Thorakion) taken from the original
iconostasis was installed on modern belfry standing on the north
- east corner of the church. Some of the wall paintings dating back
to the 12th century still stand today and are rare examples of the
art decoration in the island.
Apart from these magnificent wall - paintings, icons belonging
to this church and some other icons from other parts of the Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus which have been put under protection
are displayed in the museum.The tiny little chapel of St. James
is one of the most charming miniature churches in Cyprus. The interior
has porcelain plates in the vaulting, but the icons and iconostasis
are without interest. An exact model of the church has the erected
by the Queen of Romania, at her palace on the Black Sea, to serve
as her private chapel.
Kantara, is situated at the Eastern end of the Kyrenia Range (2,068
ft.). It is 26 miles North of Famagusta reached via Iskele and Ardahan
villages. The castle is 2 miles east of the summer resort which
is also called Kantara (1,800 ft.)Kantara means a bridge or arch
in Arabic probably so named by the Arab invaders in the past. In
fact the whole setting of the terrain looks like an arch and it
certainly commands excellent views of the seas on both sides and
of long stretches of plain all around it. It was originally built
by Byzantines against the invasions of the Saracens. The Lusignans
called it Candare or La Candaire. They remodelled and enlarged these
The Castle is entered from the east where the cliff is less steep
and allows an access. The entrance is about in the centre of the
eastern outer wall and was protected on both sides by two rectangular
towers of which only tile parts survives.
In the south tower are now arranged the latrines. The outer wall
ended to the North and the South in two shoe-horse shaped tower
with loopholes. Climbing the steps, the visitor having entered the
barbican reaches the inner entrance of the castle which is in the
centre of a strong wall which ends in two huge towers at the North
The visitor entering the inner entrance and turning to the left
comes to the Southeast tower , a large rectangular room covered
with a cross vault. The basement of this room, which has now been
turned into a cistern for rain water storage, was , at first used
as a prison. Leaving this tower the visitor comes to a vaulted room
. Following the path to the south comes to a range of three vaulted
chambers with loopholes. At the Southeast end of those chambers
is the Mediaeval latrine. Following the path to the Southwest the
visitor sees the remains of the South wall and on the right a shoe-shaped
cistern .Further to the west on the left are the remains of a tower
and on the right the remains of other chambers and cisterns.
The west part of the southern wall of the castle ends in a shoe-horse
shaped tower and continues at the west of the cliff with three vaulted
climbers. In the most Southerly chamber there is a small gate which
was used by the garrison in an emergency. In the Northern side of
the West part there are another two vaulted chambers.
Following the steep path on left are the remarks of the Byzantine
Northern wall with cisterns and other ruined chambers. From here
the view of the Northern Coast of Cyprus is majestic.
Leaving the Northern wall of the Castle that entrances the steep
cliff, the visitor may visit the chamber on the top of which the
South wall with its beautiful window stands almost intact (2068
ft.) The Mediaeval Guard of the Castle used this tower not in order
to enjoy the view but in order to exchange messages with the guard
on Buffavento Castle.
Descending the tower of the summit to the North-East direction the
visitor arrives at the North-East two storeyed tower which commands
the entrance and control the movements in the North Sea. An entrance
in the Eastern Wall leads to the shoe-horse shaped vaulted tower.
The top floor of this tower ended with a rectangular chamber. Leaving
this tower the visitor following the path on his left, comes to
the inner entrance of the Castle.
APOSTOLOS ANDREAS MONASTERY
This is one of the pilgrimage centres of Orhodox Church of Cyprus,
and is at the tip of the Karpas peninsula.It was once the Lourdes
of Cyprus, served not by an organized community of monks but by
a changing group of volunteer priests and laymen.An enormous modern
plaza of pilgrims lodgings frames the slightly older monastery buildings
wrapped around the church. Below, the modern church steps lead down
to a square, vaulted chapel, three baptismal basins fed by a sacred
spring and an old wharf.
It was on this site that St Andrew briefly landed in Cyprus on his
final missionary journey back to his Palestinian homeland. His footfall
revealed a spring whose waters miraculously healed the blind captain
of his ship. A fortified monastery stood here in the 12th century,
from which Isaac Comnenus negotiated his surrender to Richard the
Lion Heart, though the chapel built in the 15th century is the oldest