Introduction by Margaret Sheard …..
We met Chris and Fred (alias Kuzey Kibris and Nord Zypern) some years ago and were fascinated to hear of their journeys around North Cyprus discovering some of the now crumbling sites of ancient castles and other buildings of the past as well as visiting the many other well-known structures on the tourist map. They are so interested in North Cyprus heritage and history and on their frequent visits to North Cyprus try to discover as much as they can.
Chris and Fred have a website which includes a gallery of hundreds of photographs taken over the years in many areas of North Cyprus and this website can be viewed by clicking here
We asked Chris if he would write something about these expeditions to share with our readers who would have no knowledge of many areas of North Cyprus and this is the first we hope of many accounts of these historical areas.
By Chris and Fred ….
Our quest to find Sigouri Castle
When driving through Cyprus, there are many places you can imagine where, in past times, there might have been castles or small fortresses here or there.
One day, I found an interesting pdf file, written in German about the castles of Cyprus. As well as the well known castles of North Cyprus – St. Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara, there were also named Kalecik (Gastro) and Nitovikla castle.
There was something else that aroused my interest. There was another castle or fortress named, which I had never heard before. The Sigouri castle seemed to be somewhere in the Mesaoria plain, somewhere between Gecitkale and Akdogan and Iskele and Famagusta.
Sigouri Castle was built on the level by King James I in 1391 to protect the Nicosia plain against raids by the Genoese, who had been in possession of Famagusta since 1373.
While travelling around, we spotted several places. They looked like there could have been a castle or fortress, but there were too many to look for possible evidence.
After some more research and asking some friends, we were told that it is somewhere between the Dörtyol crossing and Turkmenköy. Finally a small area to look around.
At first we started driving down the main road. We noticed a square area next to the road in a field. It could have been the ground plan of the castle, but it was not interesting enough to stop and take photos and do some more research, so we skipped it.
Some time later and after some more information exchange with friends again, we were told that there are some more remains in the former river bed.
We decided to make another trip. We parked on a remaining piece of the old road and after we got out of the car, we noticed some nice old bridges.
We started searching in the river bed. After several meters to the west, we really found the remains of an ancient bridge!
After spending some time and taking photos, we tried to find the last remaining stone or stones of the castle itself, which should be somewhere near or near the river. Sadly we were not able to find anything.
On the photo of the Mesaoria Plain in the article, the site of the Castle can be seen and it has been confirmed that this is where it was.