Driving a narrow, twisting road through small villages, past fields with crops, I see my destination of the morning from far away: the square tower of Kolossi Castle. I park under a tree on the east side, and as I don't see an entrance, start walking around. There are no people inside, and I am starting to wonder if it is open at all. I walk the walled compound, giving me views from the castle from all angles, and find the entrance at the southeastern side, as well as the official parking, just before completing a full circle. I quickly don my mask before entering the ticket office, buy the ticket, and read the sign explaining the background of the castle. Named after the first feudal lord of the region, Garinus de Colos, a first castle was built here in the early 13th century. Remains of that castle can still be seen around the current structure.
Kolossi Castle had great strategic importance under the Hospitaliers, the Knights in the Order or St John of Jerusalem. After the fall of Acre in 1291, the Hospitaliers transferred their activities to Kolossi, and after a brief period where the Order of the Knights Templar ruled the castle, were in charge after the abolishment of the Order. Their base moved to Rhodes in 1310, and the Hospitaliers continued to use Kolossi as a mlitary base known as the Commanderie. Later on, its function shifted to being more residential. It concentrated on the exploitation of the lands surrounding the castle. This explains the ruins of the sugar mill complex which I see next to the castle. Wine was another famous product from the Commanderie, and even now, the Coumantaria is a well-known Cyprus wine. It is considered the oldest continuously produced (and named) wine in the world. Earthquakes destroyed the castle in the late 14th century, and a new one was built in 1454. That is the Kolossi Castle we see now. I walk to the east side, where I see a cruciform with coats of arms of the Lusignans, emblem of Cyprus and Armenia, two grand masters of the Order of St. john of Jerusalem, as well as the coat of arms of Louis de Magnac, the founder of the present castle.
I enter the castle through a door in the eastern wall, and find bare rooms. I take the spiral stairs up to the first floor, where I find the remains of a fresco on the wall, depicting the crucifixion. The rooms on the first and second floor are also plain, with big fireplaces, bearing the fleur-de-lis on their sides. With the August heat squeezing sweat out of my body, it is hard to imagine you would ever need them here. The second floor was used for accommodation. The flat roof offers views of the surrounding area. I use the main gate to leave the keep of the castle again, walk the bridge (which used to be a drawbridge) and the stairs down, and when I look up, see the machicolation, with five openings which allowed the Crusaders to pour hot water or oil, or throw stones, in case the castle was attacked. I walk through the arched hall outside, next to where the stables were, and see the circular foundations of the first castle before I am on my way further south.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Kolossi Castle (Cyprus). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Kolossi Castle. Read more about this site.