Pictures of the floating world

Cyprus: 4 mediaeval castles to see

Are you ready to explore Cyprus castles with me?

By Anna Purpurpurpur

You’ve seen all the antic spots of northern Cyprus and now want to learn about its later history? I’ve got good news for you: now you can explore the country’s mediaeval castles! I’d suggest you pop into the ones in Kolossi, Larnaka, Limassol and Paphos.

1. Limassol castle

Limassol castle, just a few minutes from the seaside, is a mediaeval castle rebuilt in late 18th century by the Ottomans. Before the 15th century it actually wasn’t used as a fortification: at the beginning an early Christian basilica stood there which later was replaced with a Byzantine Monument and after that, a Gothic Church.

It’s a beautiful fortification with an impressive basement and halls with mediaeval objects, and you can also climb up to the very top of it! By the way, this is where King Richard Lionheart wed his fiancee Berengaria of Navarre in 1191, which has a good history, too. Now it houses Cyprus Medieval museum.

2. Kolossi castle 

Medieval Kolossi Castle is another castle with a sugarcane mill and a tiny garden you might want to add to your list. 

The original castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century. It will likely be named after its first owner, Gerunus de Colos. It served as a military stronghold of the Knights of St. John, and the current castle is a rebuilt version of the older building dating back to the 15th century.

Reconstruction took place under the orders of Commander of Kolossi, Louis de Magnac. For a short period, it was controlled by the Templars but was returned to the control of Hospitallers. Finally, the castle was destroyed after the Ottoman invasion of Cyprus.

3. Larnaca castle

Also, you can head to Larnaca, the country’s third largest city located on the southern coast, famous primarily for St Lazarus Church, its lovely seaside promenade, and the Kamaris Aqueduct. It was erected on the site of Citium. Zeno, one of the most famous stoic philosophers, was born in this ancient city.

The 12th-century Larnaka castle is located on the seashore because this fortification carried a defensive role for the whole area. It was also used as an artillery station and a prison; now it’s a museum open to the public.

4. Paphos castle

Finally, you can also visit a small castle in Paphos, built to defend the harbour at the end of the 14th century as two towers that were later connected to each other (only one of them stands today with the second laying in ruins).

The history of it wasn’t smooth as it was dismounted thanks to earthquakes and constant change of rulers on the island. It was rebuilt a few times and served as a fort, a warehouse, a prison and now a museum with great panoramic views from the top. The official timeline you can find while visiting the castle is as follows. Some fortification on this site was demolished by an earthquake in the 13th century, and then the Genoese restored it. Then, the building has probably collapsed at some point, and Venetians decided not to restore it, and finally Ottomans rebuilt it again after capturing the island in 1592.

If those four castles in the north part of Cyprus it’s not enough for you, you can also explore the ones in Pentadaktylos, or Kyrenia Mountains!

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Hope you liked my blog,
Anna xxx

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