Kolossi Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Kolossi Castle

Kolossi, Cyprus, Cyprus

Kolossi Castle was a fortification of the Knights Hospitallers built in the thirteenth century and rebuilt in the fifteenth century.

Peta Stamper

20 Apr 2021
Image Credit: freeartist / Alamy Stock Photo

About Kolossi Castle

Kolossi Castle was originally a 13th century Frankish fortification near Limassol in Cyprus. Constructed by the Knights Hospitallers in 1210, Kolossi Castle almost exclusively remained in their possession until it was destroyed by Mameluke raids in 1525-6. The current Kolossi Castle was built in 1454 under the orders of Louis de Magnac.

Kolossi Castle history

During the Middle Ages, the location of Kolossi held great strategic importance, with the facilities for producing sugar from the local sugarcane – one of Cyprus’ main exports at the time. The first castle built on the site was constructed around 1210 by the Frankish military when King Hugh I of Cyprus and Jerusalem, who gave the land to the Knights Hospitallers.

The Knights were a Catholic military order tasked with protecting the Crusader Kingdom, and under the orders of the Commander of Kolossi, Louis de Magnac, they built an impenetrable 3-storey keep with a square bailey with walls 30-40 metres across. Kolossi Castle features small windows for defence as well as iconic crenellations for archers.

Due to rivalry within the Crusader Kingdom in Cyprus, Kolossi was taken by the Knights Templar in 1306. However, the Templar was disbanded in 1313 and so the fortress returned to the Hospitallers. Since the time of the Crusades, the castle has featured in many works of historical fiction, including ‘La milicia de Dios’ by Spanish author Eduardo García-Ontiveros Cerdeño and ‘Lionheart’ by Stewart Binns.

Kolossi Castle today

Today, you can explore the extraordinarily well-preserved Crusader keep at only €2,50 entry. You can climb from the basement all the way to the roof to survey the surrounding area, the same view that would have been enjoyed by Kolossi’s inhabitants over a millennia ago. Also spot the coat of arms on the castle walls belonging to Louis de Magnac.

Visitors should also sample some of the local area’s sweet wine known as Commandaria. The dessert wine is famous after the wedding of Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre at nearby Limassol, when the king declared the wine to be “wine of kings and king of wines”.

Getting to Kolossi Castle

Driving is the easiest way to reach Kolossi, located just off the B6 linking with the islands main A1 road. The castle is signposted from the motorway so is easily found, and there is space for parking on-site. For those using public transport, there is a bus stop at 1st Apriliou on the B6, a 27 minute walk from the castle.

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