Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kolossi Castle

The Kolossi Castle is located in Kolossi Village, which is about 11 km west of Limassol, within the Limassol district of Cyprus.

The current Kolossi Castle was built in the 15th century on fortress ruins, dating back to the 13th century.  The castle and surrounding area was most likely named after Gerinus de Colos, the former lord of the region.

In 1210, Hugues I of the de Lusignans gave land to the Order of Saint John, and they constructed a fortress.  Around 1301, the Order of Saint John used Kolossi as their commanding base.  In 1306, the Order of the Knights Templars took over and occupied Kolossi.  Shortly after, in 1308, it was returned to the Order of Saint John, when Pope Clement issued that the Order of the Knights Templars was illegal.

In 1310, the headquarters of the Order of the Saint John were transferred elsewhere.  So, Kolossi was given to the Commanderie, but it was primarily used as a residence.  The area surrounding the fortress produced and exported a traditional wine of Cyprus, which became known as Vin de Commanderie or Commandaria.  Now, Commandria is one of the oldest named wines in the world.

In 1454, Louis de Magnac, the commander, had a more stable fortress constructed, which is the Kolossi Castle that exists today.

The current medieval castle is 21 meters high, and it was built as a square tower with three levels, plus the rooftop.  The ground floor is divided into three parts, and it was most likely used as a storeroom.  There is an entrance to the first floor by a non-original suspended bridge that was added during renovations, and a narrow stairway that leads to the second floor and rooftop.  The first floor was possibly used as a kitchen and main dining room, and the second floor mostly likely served as lodging. 

From the rooftop, there is a lovely view of Kolossi Village and the castle’s surrounding area.  To the south of the castle, there is an enclosed courtyard and another building, which was possibly used as a stable or storehouse.  To the east side of the castle, the ruins of a sugarcane mill and refinery from the 14th century exists.  Some of the ruins of the 13th century castle, built by the Order of Saint John, are still viewable along the east side of the current castle.  Also, the Kolossi aqueducts are located near the castle. 

The Kolossi Castle is simply a delightful castle and definitely worth visiting, especially since it’s one of my favorite sites in Cyprus. 

Site: Kolossi Castle. 

Category: Archaeological Site. 

Location: Kolossi Village, about 11 km west of Limassol, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 25934907. 

Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (November to March), 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM (April, May, September, and October), and 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM (June to August), daily. 

Entrance Fee: €2,50. 

Date of Visit: 2008-2014.