La Grande Commanderie
Kolossi Castle is one of the finest examples of Frankish period military architecture, located on the southern side of Kolossi village, about 11km west of Limassol.
Richard the Lionheart of England conquered Cyprus in 1191. At the time it had been ruled by Isaac Commenus who was the Byzantine Governor of Cyprus who declared himself an independent ruler of Cyprus. He refused to assist Richard and the Crusaders in any way. Richard the Lionheart also captured other castles, such as St.Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara Castle. Meanwhile, the Castle of Kyrenia was captured by Guy de Lusignan who was lured to Kyrenia by Isaac, saying that it would be safe there. After realizing that is has been a trap, Guy captured the castle and imprisoned Isaac's wife and daughter and followed Isaac to Kantara, where he imprisoned him as well. Since all the castles that were protecting Cyprus from foreign attacks had fallen in hands of the King of the England, in 1192 the island was sold to Guy de Lusignan, marking the beginning of the Frankish 300-year period in Cyprus.
There are different opinions regarding the time when the castle was built. One of the versions suggests that the castle was build in 1210 A.D. when Kolossi was given by King Hugh I to the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. According to another version, 1454 A.D is when the Order of St. John of Jerusalem built the castle. It is clear that the present castle was built in 1454 on the ruins of the old one.
This impressive, well-built, square castle was built by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers) as the seat of the Supreme military commandment (Grande Commanderie). Temporarily the Knights Templars took over the premises. During their stay in Cyprus, the Knights produced and exported a sweet wine, which became known as the ‘vin de Commanderie’. Today, Commandaria wine is one of the island’s traditional wines and one of the oldest named wines in the world, having had the same name for eight centuries.
After the abolition, it was returned to the Knights Hospitallers.
In 1525 - 1526 Mameluke tribes organised several raids in Cyprus. During one of these raids the castle was destroyed. The Great Commander Louis de Magnac rebuilt the castle upon the ruins of the 13th-century castle.
Next to the castle you will also find the ruins of a 14th-century sugar mill. Sugar was produced here from sugarcanes that were cultivated in large plantations in Kolossi area. The long, narrow, stone-built with the arch covered hall is the main building. To the south lies the building informs (renovated during 1591) and on the northern side of the building you will find the ruins of the water mill and water tower.
Based on the military architecture of the castle, it was strong enough to resist any attacks, as strong as the Kyrenia castle, and was considered to be impregnable. Each of its four sides is 16m long outwards and 13.5m inwards. The wall height of the castle is 21m. The solid construction proved to be a good protection throughout ages, even despite all the earthquakes that happened in the area.
Winter hours (September - April)
Monday - Sunday: 8.15 - 17.15
Summer hours (September - April)
Monday - Sunday: 8.15 - 19.45
Admission € 2,50
Accessibility Non wheelchair accessible
Closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday (Greek Orthodox).
For organised groups consisting of more than 10 persons there is a 20% reduction on the entry fees.
The Department of Antiquities can issue special entry cards for all its museums and ancient monuments:
One (1) day entry cards - €8,50
three (3) day entry cards - €17,00
seven (7) day entry cards - €25,00.