I was always fascinated by Medieval Ages, the dark times, when the Christianity was taking over ancient religions and people were engaging very much into matters of strongly growing faith. Cyprus, divided into its Western and Eastern side during the division of the Roman Empire came under the rule of Byzantium. At the beginning Cyprus needed to deal with two massive earthquakes in the 4th century, a lot of cities destroyed at that time was never rebuild, apart from Salamis, the Cyprus capital then, where many churches were erected. The Christian faith was spreading fast, taking over any eastern influences.
In the 7th century the Arab invasion left another important mark in Cyprus Medieval history – the Hala Sultan Tekke was built in the exact spot where one of relatives of the Prophet lost her life, falling of the mule near Salt Lake at Larnaca. We have visited this place as well, admiring not only incredibly looking Mosque but enjoying watching wild flamingos wandering around the Salt Lake. The 7th century marked the beginning of Muslim influence in Cyprus which lasted until 10th century.
Next centuries brought even more crusades and wars, and Cyprus was sold to the Knight of Templar, who could not hold the island in peace as Richard the Lionheart increased the taxes to the maximum before selling the island. The rebellion was on its way and the Knight of Templar decided to sell the island to Guy de Lusignan in 12th century.
Kolossi Castle, which we have visited during our week in Cyprus, situated 11 kilometres west of Limassol, was erected in the 15th century on the ruins of a former fortress from the beginning of 13th century. It became a seat for the Grand Commandery of the Knights Templar and later on served as the headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. A fresco of Christ on the cross is found immediately to your right as you enter the castle.
The castle looks like a huge block of stones, with the high square tower and three floors. Each floor had its specific purpose – the ground floor was probably a storage, a second floor probably served as a kitchen and the third floor, divided into two big halls, was probably the “house” of the Commander of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. Apart from that there is a courtyard enclosed by walls and some remaining of stables or perhaps another storehouse.
You can climb more than 90 steps to reach the top of the tower to look at the area from above, wander through the castle and have a rest in courtyard, reading about its history from the leaflets available in the ticket office. The castle is harsh and unspoiled, left in the state it was discovered, with not many tourist paraphernalia you get in a number of European castles, with the exact amount of information needed for the visitor to enjoy the history and not feeling overwhelmed. A really nice surprise is the cost of the ticket, which was 2 euros when we have visited in November 2014.
Located 11 km west from Limassol, easily accessible by car. For a price tickets and opening hours visit here.