A fire at Saint Hilarion Castle is believed to have been caused by a lightning strike, with videos showing harrowing images of the historic bastion ablaze.
Turkish Cypriot media in the north reported on Wednesday that a fire started in the late afternoon, damaging a structure which houses the cafeteria at St Hilarion Castle, a medieval monument and popular tourist destination in Kyrenia district.
Civil defence officers and military officials rushed to the scene, where fire fighters were battling the flames for hours, according to local media, eventually managing to contain the blaze around 8pm.
Local officials said the castle was not damaged except from the pavilion section, which was ruined completely. Local media reported that the cafeteria had been closed at the time of the incident due to coronavirus measures.
But according to daily Yeni Duzen, the owner of the cafeteria pointed out that a number of exhibits were also ruined, referring to a photograph exhibit and other items on display.
Fikri Ataoglu, who oversees tourism and environment matters in the north, suggested the fire was believed to have been caused by lightning during a thunderstorm.
A yellow warning had been issued earlier in the south for all parts of the island due to heavy thunderstorms, while alerts and flood watches were extended overnight as well.
Saint Hilarion Castle lies on the Kyrenia mountain range, known as Pentadaktylos or Besparmak in the local languages.