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Kolossi Castle Near Limassol Cyprus

Kolossi Castle Near Limassol Cyprus

Kolossi Castle is well worth a visit if you are at all interested in Cyprus history and culture. Situated off the Limassol to Paphos highway just outside the busy town of Limassol itself it fits into a great days sightseeing. Just follow the brown tourist info signs off the highway and the castle is found on the main road to the RAF Akrotiri base. If you love cats the monastery of Saint Nicholas of the cats is only a couple of miles further along the same road.

The first Medieval fort was built on the site early in the 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 was to aid and protect pilgrims visiting the Holy land. They vacated 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 wasted no time in installing themselves in the nice empty fort where they stayed until the whole order was annihilated by King Philip of France and Pope Clement. They wanted the Knights Templar out of the way because they feared their growing power and it is also claimed that the pope owed the knights a lot of money.

With the Templar’s out of the picture the Hospitallers promptly moved back in until the crusades ended with the fall of Acre one of the most important Crusader strongholds. Despite the Island falling under the control of the Venetians marauding Turks virtually destroyed the original castle at Kolossi roundabout the middle of the 15th Century. The fort that stands on the site today was built sometime after that and it is in pretty remarkable condition for a 500 year old building (says a lot for Cyprus builders). Most of the building is open to visitors and there are a couple of small cafes in the castle grounds where you can relax after climbing the steps to the roof. In later years the castle became the administrative seat of power for the area concerning production and distribution of the famous Commandarie wine. This sweet Cyprus wine owes its name to those governors or “Commandaires” as they were known.

It is claimed that King Richard the lion heart married Berengaria of Navarre at Kolossi Castle and later crowned her Queen of both England and Cyprus. Many historians refute this however claiming that the dates clash with other historical documents linking him with crusades at the time. If it is true though it puts an interesting slant on the idea of getting married in Cyprus. After all, if it was good enough for King Richard maybe the Island is a great place for other couples to tie the knot too. Joking aside, many experts agree that Kolossi is probably one of the most important Medieval castles in Cyprus and it is certainly well worth a visit whilst you are in the area. It makes a great stop off if you are planning to visit the ancient site of Kurion a few miles further along the Limassol to Paphos highway.