The Kyrenia Mountains are a long, narrow chain of mountains that runs approximately 160 km (100 mi) along the north coast of Cyprus. The mountains are primarily limestone, with some marble. The highest mountain, Kyparissovouno, is 1,024 m (3,360 ft) in elevation. The western half of the range is also known as the Pentadactylos. Pentadactylos is also sometimes used synonymously with "Kyrenia Mountains" to refer to the entire range.
These mountains are a series of sedimentary formations from the Permian to the Middle Miocene pushed up by a collision of the African and Eurasian plates. Though only half the height of the Troodos Mountains, the Kyrenia Mountains are rugged and rise abruptly from the Mesaoria plain.
The location of the mountains near the sea made them desirable locations for watch towers and castles overlooking the north Cyprus coast as well as the central plain. These castles generally date from the 10th through the 15th centuries, primarily constructed by the Byzantines and Lusignans. The castles of St. Hilarion, Buffavento, and Kantara sit astride peaks and were of strategic importance during much of the history of Cyprus during the Middle Ages.
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