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The Pentadaktylos (Greek: Πενταδάκτυλος; Turkish: Beşparmak Dağları) is a mountain mass which makes up the western half of the Kyrenia Mountains, a long, narrow chain which runs 160 km (100 mi) along the Northern coast of Cyprus. Both the Greek name (Pentadactylos, also rendered as Pendathaktilos) and the Turkish name (Beşparmaklar) for these mountains come from the five finger-like projections of a mountain near Kyrenia. The names are also sometimes used synonymously with Kyrenia to refer to the entire range.
A devastating fire in July 1995 burned large portions of these mountains, resulting in the loss of significant forest land and natural habitat.
These mountains have many historical castles and monasteries including the St. Hilarion Castle.
There are many legends about the Pentadactylos mountains. One tells the story of a conceited villager who fell in love with the local queen and asked for her hand in marriage. The queen wished to be rid of the impertinent young man and requested that he bring her some water from the spring of Apostolos Andreas monastery in the Karpas, a perilous journey in those days. The man set off and after several weeks returned with a skin full of that precious water. The queen was most dismayed to see that he had succeeded, but still refused to marry him. In a fit of rage, he poured the water on to the earth, seized a handful of the resulting mud and threw it at the queens head. She ducked and the lump of mud sailed far across the plain to land on top of the Kyrenia mountain range, where it is to this day, still showing the impression of the thwarted villager’s five fingers.
Another famous one is of the Byzantine hero Digenis Akritas. Tradition has it that Digenis Akritas's hand gripped the mountain to get out of the sea when he came to free Cyprus from its Saracen invaders, and this is his handprint. (He also threw a large rock across Cyprus to get at the Saracen ships. That rock landed in Paphos at the site of the birthplace of Aphrodite, thus known to this day as Petra Tou Romiou or "Rock of the Greek".
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