Cyprus is an island with many castles. Most of these castles tend to be located in rural areas and require a bit of a trek to get there. But Limassol Castle is one of the few exceptions as it is located in the heart of Limassol, Cyprus’s second largest city and the island’s major port.
A visit to Limassol Castle is an excellent way to spend a day, and it can be combined with a visit to the nearby Old Port and Limassol Marina. A wonderful example of Cyprus’s stunning past, this castle harkens back to medieval times. The current structure was rebuilt during the Ottoman rule of the country back in the sixteenth century. Why not pay a visit to this magnificent edifice during your stay in Limassol?
History of Limassol Castle
As mentioned above, the castle you see standing today, as dominating as it is, is not the original castle that was built on the site. Underneath the current structure are the remains of a Christian basilica built. It is believed, as early as the fourth century. On top of this was a built Byzantine monument circa the tenth century.
It has been speculated that Limassol Castle was once the site of the city’s first ever cathedral, and hence the cementing of Cyprus as a Christian country.
The castle has had a turbulent history, coming under a constant barrage of attacks by foreign powers, earthquakes, and general disrepair. When it was destroyed during the Ottoman invasion, it was rebuilt as a fort, which is what you see today.
Limassol Castle has been in the hands of many occupying powers over the centuries. It started out as a launching pad for the Crusades throughout the Middle East. Later, it became a battleground for the powers of Venice and Genoa. This coastal fortification has been a fixture of Limassol for centuries, and it’s not difficult to see why.
A Royal Heritage?
You just might be standing in the shoes of royalty when you visit Limassol Castle. Legend has it that this was the place where Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre in 1191. If the legend is to be believed, then this could be where one of the Queens of England was crowned.
Learn and Play
The kids will love exploring the ruins of this medieval structure. If you want to find out more about the castle, and Cyprus itself, there are exhibitions at the Cyprus Medieval Museum. It details the intriguing history of the castle and why it is such a significant symbol of Limassol’s – and Cyprus’s – heritage.
The attraction is open all year round, and it really is fun for all the family!
You’ll find Limassol Castle directly next to the Old Port. Sometimes it can be difficult to find because restaurants and cafes surround it, but you can easily have your hotel direct you to the location. Or you can just use our handy map, below. Enjoy a great day out and take in the sites of the old part of Limassol in the process.
There are plenty of public transport options, including for those with limited mobility, including cabs and a well-developed public bus system.
When will you visit Limassol Castle? Or have you visited before? What did you think? I would love to hear all about it, so why not leave me a comment at the bottom of the page.