The Girne Shipwreck Museum, located inside the Girne Castle, houses the remains of the oldest wreck ship known to the world dating back to the 3rd century BC. She sank in open waters less than one mile from the anchorage of Kyrenia, the evidence pointing to her being sunken by rough seas around 300 B.C.
Story: In 1967 a local sponge diver discovered the remains during a dive in over 30 m depth. During the summers of 1968 – 1969 Micheal Katzev from the University of Pennsylvania, Museums Department, directed a survey team using the help of 50 underwater archaeology students and technicians, who employed stereo – photography and other developed techniques to record the position of each object before it was raised. The objects displayed in the museum are the original ones, that where use by the crew of four or were part of the cargo that she carried on her last voyage about 2300 years ago!
The romantic old, horseshoe shaped Girne harbour is located directly next to the Girne Castle. Originally built by the roman’s to protect the city of Girne from sea raids it now caters to the needs of friendlier visitors. The harbour section closest to the Girne Castle still provides anchorage for small fishing boats while the rest of the old harbour accommodates locals as well as visiting tourists alike with its cafes, restaurants and tour boats.
Tip: It is a great place for “people watching”! It can become quite lively (especially Saturday nights)… so maybe you could try a quiet Sunday morning when all you see and meet are fishermen, sleepy cafe personnel and one of the many harbour cats?
The origin of the Girne Castle goes back to the roman period during which there was a harbour on the eastern side of the castle. The fortifications were built by the Romans in the 3rd century in order to protect the city of Girne and its harbour from pirates. Throughout its period of use, the castle was modified a number of time, which is quite evident when you walk through the two different entrance gates (the first one dating back to the Venetian period and after climbing up a steep passageway, the second one dating back to the Lusignans period). The square outer castle shape of today dates back to the Venetian period.
Tip: Inside the castle grounds you can find the amazing ship wreck museum! Housed in a specially acclimatised room are the remains of the oldest ship wreck found, dating back to 300 BC! From on top of the outer castle walls you can take terrific pictures of the old harbour or Girne.