Colossi Castle near Limassol Cyprus

Colossi Castle near Limassol Cyprus

Kolossi Castle is worth a visit if you are at all interested in the history and culture of Cyprus. Located off the Limassol – Paphos highway, just outside the bustling city of Limassol itself, it fits in with great days of sightseeing. Just follow the brown tourist information signs from the highway and the castle is on the main road to RAF Akrotiri. If you love cats, the Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats is just a few miles further along the same road.

The first medieval fortress was built on the site in the early 13th century by a group of knights known as the Hospitallers. Also called the Knights of the Order of Saint John, their mission in Cyprus is to help and protect pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. They left the castle sometime around the beginning of the 14th century to set up headquarters on the island of Rhodes. Their rivals, the famous order of the Knights Templar, lost no time in taking up residence in the fine empty fortress, where they remained until the entire order was destroyed by King Philip of France and Pope Clement. They wanted the Knights Templar abolished because they feared their growing power and it was also alleged that the Pope owed the Knights a lot of money.

With the Templars out of the picture, the Hospitallers promptly fell back until the Crusades ended with the fall of Acre, one of the Crusaders’ most important strongholds. Although the island fell under the control of the Venetians, marauding Turks virtually destroyed the original castle in the Colossi roundabout in the mid-15th century. The fort that stands on the site today was built sometime after that and is in pretty remarkable condition for a 500-year-old building (says a lot about Cypriot builders). Most of the building is open to visitors and there are several small cafes in the castle courtyard where you can relax after climbing the steps to the roof. In later years, the castle became the administrative center of power for the area associated with the production and distribution of the famous Commandarie wine. This sweet Cypriot wine owes its name to these governors or “commanders” as they were known.

King Richard the Lionheart is said to have married Berengaria of Navarre at Colossi Castle and later crowned her Queen of both England and Cyprus. However, many historians dispute this, claiming that the dates conflict with other historical documents linking it to the Crusades at the time. If true, however, it puts an interesting spin on the idea of ​​getting married in Cyprus. After all, if it was good enough for King Richard, maybe the Isle is a great place for other couples to get married too. All kidding aside, but many experts agree that Kolossi is probably one of the most important medieval castles in Cyprus and is certainly worth a visit while you’re in the area. It makes a great stopover if you plan to visit the ancient site of Kurion a few miles further along the Limassol to Paphos highway.

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