Kolossi Castle in Limassol
Kolossi Castle is one of the most striking fortresses from the medieval era of Cyprus. The Order of Malta began its construction in the 13th century. The original castle was destroyed at the beginning of the 15th century, and the existing building was built over its ruins in 1454. The castle is located 11 kilometres east of Limassol, on the shores of the city of Kolossi.
It had great strategic importance in the Middle Ages, hosting facilities for sugar cane and wine production, one of Cyprus's main exports. The original building dated from 1210, when the territory of Kolossi was ceded by King Hugo I to the knights of the Order of Malta. Due to the rivalry between the factions of the Kingdom of Cyprus, the Knights Templar took the castle in 1306 but returned to the Hospitallers' hands in 1313, after abolishing the Temple's Order. The current castle was built in 1454 by the Knights Hospitallers under the Kolossi commander's command, Louis de Magnac; the weapons were carved into the castle walls.
An excellent way to travel back in time is to cross the small drawbridge that leads to the castle and look up to see the "welcome" hole through which knights were pouring boiling oil at intruders. On the castle wall, which faces east, is the coat of arms of the Grand Commander Luis de Magnac, who was responsible for rebuilding the castle in the 15th century. On the ground floor is the massive fireplace. On the second floor, there is a mural of the crucifixion in the main room and a fresco on the second floor, showing Magnac's coat of arms.
On the roof, you can see the castle battlements, which were renovated in the 1930s. From here, you can see the lush vineyards that extend around the castle. These vineyards produce Commandaria, one of the most aged wines in the world that continue in production. At the wedding banquet of Ricardo Corazón de León with Berenguela de Navarra, held in nearby Limassol, it is said that the king proclaimed the grand ceremony with a sip of sweet nectar and, according to legend, said the drink as "wine of kings and the king of wines.
It has been produced in the area for millennia, and it is considered the wine produced continuously for the longest time and under the same name. The wine was named “La Grande Commanderie,” the Knights Templar's military headquarters and the Knights Hospitallers, two famous knightly orders that occupied Cyprus for hundreds of years during the Crusades.