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Kyrenia

The meaning of «kyrenia»

Kyrenia (Greek: Κερύνεια locally [t͡ʃeˈɾiɲˑa]; Turkish: Girne [ˈɟiɾne]) is a city on the northern coast of Cyprus, noted for its historic harbour and castle. It is under the de facto control of Northern Cyprus.

While there is evidence showing that the wider region of Kyrenia has been populated before, the city was built by the Greeks named Achaeans from the Peloponnese after the Trojan War ( 1300 BC ). According to Greek mythology, Kyrenia was founded by the Achaeans Cepheus and Praxandrus who ended up there after the Trojan War. The heroes gave to the new city the name of their city of Kyrenia located in Achaia, Greece.

As the town grew prosperous, the Romans established the foundations of its castle in the 1st century AD. Kyrenia grew in importance after the 9th century due to the safety offered by the castle, and played a pivotal role under the Lusignan rule as the city never capitulated. The castle has been most recently modified by the Venetians in the 15th century, but the city surrendered to the Ottoman Empire in 1571.

The city's population was almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians in 1831, with a slight Muslim majority. However, with the advent of British rule, many Turkish Cypriots fled to Anatolia, and the town came to be predominantly inhabited by Greek Cypriots. While the city suffered little intercommunal violence, its Greek Cypriot inhabitants, numbering around 2,650, fled or were forcefully displaced in the wake of the Turkish invasion in 1974. Currently, the city is populated by Turkish Cypriots, mainland Turkish settlers, and British expats, with a municipal population of 33,207.

Kyrenia is a cultural and economical centre, described as the tourism capital of Northern Cyprus.[3][4][5] It is home to numerous hotels, nightlife and a port. It hosts an annual culture and arts festival with hundreds of participating artists and performers and is home to three universities with a student population around 14,000.[6]

The earliest document which mention Kyrenia is the ‘Periplus of Pseudo Skylax'. It dates to the thirteenth century but is based on fourth-century BC knowledge. The manuscript names numerous towns along the Mediterranean coast and mentions Kyrenia as a harbour town: ‘Opposite Cilicia is the island of Cyprus, and these are its city-states (poleis): Salamis, which is Greek and has a closed winter harbour; the Karpasia, Kyrenia, Lapithos, which is Phoenician; Soloi (this has also winter harbour); Marion, which is Greek; Amathus (which is autochthonous). All of them have deserted (summer) harbours. And there are also city states speaking strange languages inland.’4 Skylax referred to both Kyrenia and Lapithos as Phoenician towns. Coins with Phoenician legends underline that the Northern coast between Kyrenia and Lapithos were at least under Phoenician influence.

Another topographical source is the ‘Stadiasmus Maris Magni’ (from the name 'stadion', a unit measuring distances, 1 stadion = 184 metres). The unknown author, who sailed from Cape Anamur on the Cilician coast to Cyprus and circumnavigated the island, gave the distances from Asia Minor to the nearest point in Cyprus. This was 300 stadia, about 55 000 metres. He also recorded distances between towns. From Soli to Kyrenia he counted 350 stadia, from Kyrenia to Lapithos 50 and from Lapithos to Karpasia it was 550 stadia.

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