Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Cyprus chapter Lemesos & The South has to say about the Kolossi Castle on the Akrotiri Peninsula:
This doll’s house of a castle (more like a fortified tower) perches on the edge of Kolossi village. It’s an interesting reminder of the rule of the Knights of St John in the 13th century, who started producing wine and processing sugar cane at a commandery that stood on this land. The current structure dates from 1454 and was probably built over the older fortified building.
Kolossi Castle is approached via a drawbridge. Look up from here to imagine where the parapet would have been located, high above, and from where boiling oil was poured on top of any enemies who dared to approach. On entering the castle you will see two large chambers, distinctive for the original mural of the crucifixion, a large fireplace, and a spiral staircase that leads to a further two chambers on the second level and then beyond to the battlements, restored in 1933.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We had one day left in the Pafos area before we needed to drive back to Larnaca for our last three nights on Cyprus. Duncan had been really keen to hike to Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains, which rose almost straight north of Lemesos (Limassol). When Anil and I had a better look at the rating of the hike, we realized that after what was considered easy hikes to Cyclops Cave and the Baths of Aphrodite, the Mount Olympus hike would be too difficult for us. It had a higher rating that the ones we’d done.
We offered to drive Donna and Duncan to the trailhead in the Troodos Mountains, and we would be content to relax near the car and read books – I could even work on the personal writing for my journal. They weren’t keen on making us wait for what might be a 3-4 hour hike, so I suggested that instead, we could explore the Akrotiri Peninsula, which extends south of Lemesos.
The drive from Pafos to Akrotiri would only take and hour and then there were three sites we could visit: the Kolossi Castle, the Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats and the Ancient Kourion archeological site. We all agreed that this would be a better option, especially now that the weather was getting a little more unsettled in the mountainous regions.
We got an earlier start than usual, and arrived at the Kolossi Castle around 11:00am. We were practically alone at the castle and that suited me just fine. I love taking pictures without strangers in them. I know it looks more like a fortified tower, but I never, never tire of visiting a castle or a fort so I was excited to cross the drawbridge and have a look inside.
There are three levels to the castle, and the main entrance is on the middle level, so it was necessary to climb a stone staircase to reach the drawbridge. The door was off-centre on the exterior wall, because each floor has two separate chambers and the opening takes one into the right-hand side. I loved the little window seats that were created at either end of the vaulted chambers.
Each room had a fireplace with a fleur-di-lis sculpted on the side of the mantel. The walls of most of the chambers were bare, but the one we entered first had a large fresco of the crucifixion painted near the staircase to the upper levels. I’m pleased that it was protected by glass on the lower portion, because the temptation to touch it was all too strong.
We climbed the narrow winding stairs to the parapet and admired the scenery in the distance and the orchards below the walls. We also had a good look at the shafts above the drawbridge that allowed defenders to pour boiling oil and any invading army. There wasn’t much more to see inside so we climbed down to the ground level and exited through a door into a small bit of castle grounds that existed within the confines of the moat.
Though the moat was completely dry, we chose to walk around and pose for photos over a little bridge that was built over the moat at the rear of the castle. We admired a massive 200-year-old rosewood tree that had a sign stating it was a ‘protected tree’ and then I took a photo of the largest cypress tree I’ve ever seen. The contrast between the two species of trees couldn’t have been more different.
Before leaving the castle, we had a quick look at the ruins of the old sugar commandery that was used by the Knights of St John as far back as the 13th century.