Castle & the Order of St John
Hugues I, the sovereign of the de
Lusignans’ dynasty in 1210, granted this area
to the friars of the Order of Saint John. The name
of the area came more than likely came from Gerinus
de Colos, the former feudal lord of the region.
The first fortress was constructed during the 13th Century.
After the fall of Acre in 1291,
probably around 1301, the Knights of the Order of
St. John moved their activities to Kolossi Castle.
1306, the Knights Templar took occupation but were
thrown out in 1308 by order of Pope Clement who declared
the order to be outlaws and disbanded them.
In 1310, the administration of the Knights of the
Order of Saint John was transferred to Rhodes. The
fortress in Kolossi Castle remained the seat of Commanderie,
and was subsequently used as an administration seat
by the Order of the Friars in 1380. They then exploited
about 60 villages in the region, by the mass production
of the sweet Cypriot wine called Commandarie from
the massive plantations in the area.
Commanderie of Kolossi
Following several raids by the Marmadukes
in the 15th century the original fortress was left
in ruins, it was rebuilt as it is seen today in 1454, a stone made
fortress with walls of a 1.25 mtr. depth, with three walls of 21
mtr. in height. The entrance to Kolossi Castle was by a suspended
bridge at the first floor, and on the roof, a scalding bowl and loopholes
are reminders of the medieval sieges.
In 1488, George Cornaro, the brother of Catherine,
the last Queen of the Franks, was compensated by being given 14 out
of the 41 villages, which were still under the control of the Commanderie
of Rhodes, for persuading Catherine to waive her sovereign rights
over Cyprus and give them to the Venetians. Subsequently, every Cornaro
Family’s leader was granted the title of the High Commander
This title remained a family title even after the
Ottomans seizing Cyprus, in 1799 it was then granted to the Mozzenigo
family, after the marriage of a Mozzenigo with a Cornaro heir.