Limassol Castle

Limassol, Cyprus

The oldest record of the Limassol Castle dates back to 1228 when Fredrik II of Germany and his supporters sent to prison the hostages seized by Ibeline, the king regent of Cyprus. This Castle was likely to be an ancient Byzantine Castle or the one that took its place over the early Frankish period. According to Stephen Lusignan, Guy de Lusignan had the original Castle built in 1193. This original fort, if it really existed, has not yet been localized by the archaeologists. It is more likely to have been given up to the knights for administration purposes on behalf of the crown in 1308. A marble podium of a small basilica dating back to the Early Christian times and the floor of a Middle Byzantine monument (10th – 11th century) has survived. The eastern side of an arched basement composed of three parts has a big apse on the floor with an approximately 12-metre diameter which could be considered part of the first Latin cathedral of the town.

In 1373 the Genoeses burned the town after having conquered the castle. At this attack serious damage must have been caused to the monument. According to the visitors the town had almost no inhabitants at the late 14th century. A small recovery was observed over the latest decade and the early 15th century at the Latin Bishop’s See of Limassol which apparently used a rebuilt old Middle Byzantine Temple, Zik-Zak street behind the today’s Kepir Mosque, while at the same time the Castle was being repaired. It is often featured that it was a place of resistance against the Genoeses in 1402 and 1408. In 1413 the resistance against the attacks of the Mamluks, who were eventually not able to conquer it, was a fact indeed. Serious damage caused then and maybe a little later, owing to the earthquakes, which were not dealt with efficiently, made it easy to be conquered in 1425 by the Egyptians during their second raid conducted on the town.

According to some information a stronger earthquake affected seriously the monument. When in 1518 Saige visited the town, the Castle was still maintained in a strong position. The most probable is what happened in the case of the Zik-Zak street temple during this period; repairs to a great extent and reconstruction works took place. The gothic arcs that can be observed in the ground western hall. Also some openings with arch hewed doorframes are likely to be seen at the sidewalks of the first floor and above the today’s entrance.

In 1538 the Turks landed at Limassol and conquered the Castle. Bragadino, the Venetian Governor of Cyprus decided to have the Castle demolished in order to prevent any further use of it or its being conquered by the Turks to be used as a fort. Boustronios blamed the Governor for this act of his, stating that the expenses for the demolition of the castle went beyond the costs for having it repaired. The demolition works took place through several phases and their completion was achieved owing to the earthquakes occurred in 1567-1568.

Following the complete conquest of the island (1576) by the Ottomans, the ruins of the old castle or parts of it were incorporated into the new fort built by the Ottomans in 1590. A 2-metre thick wall and the specially tailored ground floor cells used as a prison until 1950, have been two particularly important features of it.

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Founded: 1193
Category: Castles and fortifications in Cyprus

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dani Danara (3 months ago)
Quite interesting museum. Easy to reach in downtown. You'll get a lot of history here
Ágnes Csatáry (5 months ago)
Quite small and not too tall castle. There is a museum inside. The entrance fee is 4.5 euros. You can go to the top and see the view of the surrounding houses of old town Limassol. There is a small garden around with a couple of trees and column capitals.
Michael Klinkenberg (5 months ago)
Quite a remarkable place. I usually get bored with castles, but here there is lots to see and discover. Narrow passages, lots of tombstones and archeology, and all the way to the rooftop with a view. Well done, especially since it's not that big.
Nick Tsatsalmas (7 months ago)
A must visit in Limassol if you're into medieval history. The castle is small but beautiful, well maintained and is abundant with atmosphere. The exposed artifacts show how this area blended civilizations and served as crossroads for Greeks, Arabs, knights templars and Ottomans since early Christian Era.
Fadzai Makombe (8 months ago)
Richard the Lionheart of England had a wedding here. Well maintained castle. Not much inside originally belonging to the castle. Many artifacts inside are from all over Cyprus.
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