In its heyday, just before the British occupation of the island in 1878, Kyrenia harbour was a quiet, often ignored, port between Cyprus and other countries in Europe and the Middle East. From there local Caïques, Cypriot owned – Greek and Turkish Cypriot – and Greek owned, conducted a thriving trade. Depending on the season, they exported wheat and olives, donkeys and goats and much more. Larger boats, mostly from Europe, arrived in the late fall and early winter to take in the crop of carobs, the main export item of the area. The caiques brought in wood, earthenware, legumes, cheese, butter, and even small luxuries items such as silk and cotton cloth, buttons and odd pieces of furniture. Slowly, two storied buildings emerged around the harbour as the owners used the lower floor as warehouses and the second floor as their residences.
The town’s trade with the Anatolian coast and beyond the Levant sea was badly affected when in 1885, the then British government of the island began the Kyrenia harbour works that left the harbor wide open to the northern gales. Slowly, over the next decades, scores of caiques were wrecked within Kyrenia harbour, with their owners often unable to recover from the loss.
Kyrenia harbour is currently a tourist location.
Kyrenia (Greek: Κερύνεια locally [t͡ʃeˈɾiɳˑa]; 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 Kyrenia has been populated since ca. 5800–3000 BC, it is traditionally accepted that the city was founded by Achaeans from the Peloponnese after the Trojan War. 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. 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.