HISTORY OF KYRENIA
Settlement in the Kyrenia area dates back to neolitic times, and under the influence of the Anatolian coastal civilizations during the Bronze Age, the population in the region grew.
Until 3 12 Be. Kyrenia was an independent city kingdom, but was then taken over by Salamis. The name Kyrenia is believed to date back to that time. Ptolemy(King of Salamis) apparently referred to the town as "Keravnia" which means Aphrodite with the Thunderbolt. During the tenth century, the Phoenicians settled relatively large amount of autonomy, allowing it to develop along its own lines. In fact, Kyrenia during Roman times was Christian even before Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. During Roman rule the importance of the port as an access to markets in Asia Minor helped the town in both stature and status.
In 1192 Girne fell to the Crusaders led by Richard the Lionheart, but was then handed on the Lusignans who divided the region into feudal estates. Interestingly, some place names closely resemble the names given to them by the Frankish overlords. The village of Temblos(Zeytinlik in Turkish) was the estate of the Knights Templar. Karmi village(Karaman in Turkish) was the property of the Carmelites. And Agrida(Agirdag in Turkish) was known as La Gride by the Franks. During Venetian rule the notifications of Kyrenia, which were also extensive during Frankish rule, were extended and strengthened. But their efforts were in vain as in 1571 the Ottomans took Kyrenia without a single shot being fired.
After the Ottoman conquest Kyrenia entered so meting of a decline due to the fact that as part of the greater Ottoman Empire, and surrounded by lands also within that realm, the strategic and economic value of the town was negligible.
After the British took over the administration of Cyprus in 1889 attempts were made to improve and renovate Kyrenia harbour with a view to increasing trade and shipping. However it was hard for the harbour to shake off its reputation as a 'shipwrecker'.
In recent times Kyrenia has developed into a popular tourist resort, but fortunately for those who live in or visit the town it has never been overrun by tourists.