Kolossi Castle, Cyprus

Kolossi Castle is a beautiful 15th century fortification rebuilt on the site of an earlier 13th century castle that is situated west of the city of Limassol. It is believed the original castle, the remains of which can be seen to the west and east of the current structure, was built in 1210 and was given to the Knights Hospitaller (the military Order of St John) by the Lusignan King Hugh I. It came into the possession of the Knight Templars briefly from 1306-1308 but returned to the Knights Hospitaller after the abolition of the Templars by Pope Clement V. In 1310 the command centre of the Hospitallers was moved to the island of Rhodes but Kolossi was still used as a residence for the Grand Commander, and served as a centre of oversight for the large plantations that surrounded Kolossi and the wider area, 60 villages in all. This castle was then attached by successive raids on Kolossi, firstly by the Genoese in 1373 and then the Mamluks in 1402, 1413, 1425 and 1426, subsequent earthquakes left the castle in ruins.

In 1454 the castle was rebuilt by the Hospitallers under the direction of the Grand Commander of the Order, Louis de Magnac. In 1488 George Cornaro, brother of the last Lusignan Queen of Cyprus Caterina Cornaro, acting in the interest of the Venetians, convinced his sister to renounce her sovereign rights to the island in favour of the Republic of Venice. George Cornaro was rewarded with the castle, vast swathes of property and the title of the Grand Commander of Cyprus. This title was held by his family throughout years of Ottoman rule and in 1799 was granted to the Motsennigo family, a member of which had married the heiress of the Cornaro.

GPS: 34.66514, 32.93408

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