Kolossi Medieval Castle

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Social Life
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Political History

In the Middle Ages, in the area of Kolossi, there was once a rich fief that was of strategic importance to the surrounding region. Today, one of the most important fortresses from the era of Frankish Rule in Cyprus, the Kolossi Castle, stands as a reminder of this legendary time in the Limassol countryside. 

The Castle was built in 1210, by the Ioannite Knights (a regiment that was established after the First Crusade), who had settled on the island under Lusignan rule. Because of the fort's great value, it changed hands several times during a particularly troubled period for the eastern Mediterranean basin. In 1306 - 1313, it was captured by the Knights Templar, and eventually destroyed in 1426, by the Mamluks of Egypt. 

As it always remained a privileged fief, Kolossi did not take long to rediscover its former glory. In 1454, the Castle was rebuilt by the Commander of the Ioannites, Louis de Magnac. The magnificence of the fortress, which is awe-inspiring to this day, is indicative of the key role of the fief, as well as of the rich produce the surrounding areas offered. In fact, the Commanderie (military command) of Kolossi lent its name to the internationally renowned sweet wine of Cyprus, Commandaria. 

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By the end of the Frankish occupation, the Castle had lost its strategic role, though its imposing aura never ceased to impress both locals and visitors, inspiring legends and folklore. This is perhaps why some of the earliest photos of the Limassol countryside always depict this impressive fortress. 

Near the Kolossi fortress, there is a Byzantine church dating back to the 12th century. It appears that the Ioannites had used this temple, as the coat-of-arms of Louis de Magnac was preserved on the archway of the temple until 1936. During the 15th century, the Byzantine church was converted into a church of Ioannite worship, dedicated to Saint Efstathios, due to his military status and Latin origins. 

Source of information: Kolossi Community Council, Department of Antiquities


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