The Kyrenia mountain range runs for about 160 kilometres along the northern coast of the island of Cyprus. It is known as Beşparmak in Turkish and Pentadaktylos (Πενταδάκτυλος) in Greek, both meaning five-fingered, named after one of the mountain peaks, resembling five fingers. There are important historical sites and old churches, now converted into mosques or a museum, along this range, south and east of the city of Kyrenia (Girne).
Overlooking Kyrenia is Saint Hilarion Castle, the best-preserved ruin of the three former strongholds in these mountains, said to have been the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Snow White’s castle. It was originally a monastery and was later fortified. A few kilometres to the east is the Bellapais Abbey, dating back to the 13th century. Both saw their heyday during the Lusignan period, the Kingdom of Cyprus.
Further east is Buffavento Castle, at 950 metres above sea level, also constructed on Byzantine foundations, by the Lusignans in the 14th century. It was built as a defence against Arab raids, between St. Hilarion Castle to the west and Kantara Castle to the east and used to pass signals between them.
Near the village of Taşkent (Vouna) is an enormous Turkish Cypriot flag constructed from coloured stones on the hillside, clearly visible from Nicosia. Taşkent was renamed after a village in the south, where, in 1974, a massacre of Turkish Cypriots by Greeks took place. A cemetery where the victims of the “Taşkent Massacre” are buried is in its outskirts.