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Kyrenia (Greek: Κερύνεια, Turkish: Girne) is a town on the northern coast of Cyprus, noted for its historic harbour and castle. Internationally recognised as part of the Republic of Cyprus, Kyrenia has been under Turkish occupation since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Once predominantly inhabited by Greek Cypriots, Kyrenia's population consists now largely of Turkish Cypriots and settlers from Turkey.



Prehistoric and ancient times

Kyrenia dates to the end of the Trojan War when many settlers arrived there from Achaea in the Peloponnese and established towns in the district. Evidence from archeological sites excavated in and around the town of Kyrenia evidence settlement since the Neolithic period, 5800-3000 BC. Moreover, many Mycenaean, Geometric and Achaean tombs dating from 1300-500s BC, have also been discovered. A fine climate, fertile soil and an abundance of water offered ideal conditions for the town's early settlement.

Cepheus from Arcadia is believed to be the founder of the town of Kyrenia. A military leader, he arrived at the north coast of the island bringing with him many settlers from various towns in Achaea. One such town, located near present-day Aigio in the Peloponnese, was also called Kyrenia. East of Kyrenia lays the «Coast of Achaeans». It was at Kyrenia, according to Strabo l (14.682.3),that Teucer came first ashore, to found the ancient Kingdom of Salamis after the Trojan war.

The earliest reference made to the town of Kyrenia is found, together with that of the other seven city kingdoms of Cyprus, in Egyptian scripts dating from the period of Ramesses III, 1125-1100s BC.

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