Paphos Castle is a 16th century Ottoman fort built on the site of an earlier 13th century castle. It is believed a fortification of some type occupied this strategic position since at least the 10th century, its close proximity to the ruins of Ancient Paphos nearby may attest to this. The earliest structure would have no doubt been destroyed in the catastrophic earthquake of 1222 but was rebuilt by the Lusignans at the end of the 13th century. In 1572 it was destroyed by the Venetians to prevent its occupation by the expected Ottoman invasion. In 1592 after the invasion the Ottomans rebuilt the castle, as an inscription above the main doorway testifies. Its ground floor and basement served as a prison for a large part of its history during Turkish rule, the grated entrance into the depths of the structure where the convicts were kept is certainly jarring to stare into. The upper floors were home to a mosque and a garrison to defend the fort with 12 cannons, the cannons were returned to Turkey when the castle and the island of Cyprus was leased to Britain in 1878. It was last used as a storage vault for salt before being declared a national monument in 1935.
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