Kolossi castle, situated south west of Kolossi village, was built originally in 1210 by the knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Hospitallers). It became the 'Grande Commanderie' (headquarters) of the Knights Hospitallers after the fall of Acre in 1291, when the Crusaders lost their last stronghold in the Holy Land. The Knights Templar took it over in 1306, but it was returned to the Hospitallers in 1313 after their demise. The current castle dates from the 15th century and was built by Louis de Magnac, Commander of Kolossi under the rule of Guy de Lusignan.
Louis de Magnac's coat of arms can be seen at the bottom of the cruciform marble slab. The second picture is a coloured depiction of the Magnac coat of arms found in Limassol castle. The middle escutcheon on the wall of the castle (first picture below) bears the emblem of Jerusalem, the old Lusignan coat of arms, the emblem of Cyprus and the emblem of Armenia.
The tower of the castle has three floors, two with fireplaces bearing the de Magnac coat of arms. A fresco on the wall of the first floor suggests part of the castle was used for worship.
There are wonderful views from the roof of the castle which can be accessed by a winding staircase. In the grounds are the remains of a sugar refinery (3rd picture) which dates back to the 14th century. Sugar was produced from local sugar cane and was a major export of Cyprus. The castle is also known for its 'Commandaria' wine, a sweet dessert wine which is the oldest manufactured wine in the world. Richard the Lionheart is said to have ordered it for his marriage to Spanish Berengaria of Navarre in Limassol. The sprawling deciduous tree pictured below is a 200 year-old rosewood tree.
Near the castle is a small 12th century church (Agios Efstathios) dedicated to St. Eustathius.
Eustathius was a pagan Roman general named Placidus in the 2nd century AD who encountered God one day while he was hunting. He turned to Christianity with his wife and family after this experience but was expelled from his post and exiled as punishment by the Roman Emperor, Trajan. Some time later, his military expertise was requested and he contributed to a victorious battle. Hadrian, Trajan's successor, invited him to make sacrifices to idols and attend a feast to celebrate the victory. When he refused, he was martyred along with his family. What an example of standing firm in the faith! How would we fare today if we were asked by the authorities to do something against our faith? Would we give in or would we, like Eustathius, be prepared to lay down our lives to honour Christ?
... stand firm in the Lord.