The imposing Castle of Limassol that used to be the protector of the town, is now the Museum of Medieval History of Cyprus.
The Castle of Limassol is situated in the heart of the old town of Limassol, just above the old harbour. The exact date of erection is still unknown however it is said that it was built in 1193 by Guy de Lusignan, the founder of Lusignan Dynasty. It is also believed that this is where Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre who crowned her Queen of England.
The visibility at the castle extends to the harbour and to the entire city of Limassol. The walls were 2.00 metres thick and inside there was a spiral stair that connected the basement to the roof. The castle was heavily damaged by hostile attacks and by powerful earthquakes that occurred in 1567 and 1568. In 1570, before the Ottoman invasion, the Venetian governor decided to destroy the castle in order to avoid a possible seizure by the enemies. Finally, in 1590 Ottomans rebuilt the castle and extended it to its now current form.
The excavations that took place inside the castle revealed the foundations of an Early Christian basilica (4th-7th century), a Middle-Byzantine monument (10th-11th century), and an important church which is possibly the city’s first cathedral. Under the eastern hall of the castle, cells were built that were used as prisons until 1950. The castle was converted into the Medieval Museum of Cyprus in 1987.
The Museum houses objects that date to the 3rd until the 18th century, namely belonging to the proto-orthodox, early Christian and Byzantine period, as well as the Frankish, Venetian and Ottoman Rule. Its exhibits include weapons, armours, tools, Byzantine, Medieval and Islamic era pottery, bronze glassware, coins, relics, crosses, and an important collection of medieval engraved tombstones.
A special showcase exhibits a skeleton that belongs to a defender of Nicosia during the Ottoman conquest of Nicosia city in 1570. The exhibits show the economic, social and religious life in Cyprus during the Middle Ages.
The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 09:00 - 17:00, and Sunday 10:00-13:00. The entrance fee is €4.50. There is reduction for organised groups and special day-cards are available.