Kantara Castle

Built in the 10th century to stop Arab invaders and it rose 630m above sea level.

Situated at the Eastern point of the island this castle is thought to have been built sometime in the 10th century and was there to halt Arab invaders. It was built on the site of an old monastery and visitors can see a small white chapel which still sits atop the mountain just above the castle.

On 6th May 1191 King Richard the Lion heart and his army landed at the port of Limassol after he found out that his fiancée Berengaria of Navarre and her younger sister Joanne Sicilian fell at the hands of the Emperor of the island. King Richard sent two of his trusted knights to the Emperor for apologies for the insult he had showed towards him and his fiancée, also the King requested for property that had been stolen when his fiancées ship, when it was wrecked against the islands shore.

The Emperor refused to both requests and King Richard landed all his troops on the shore close to Limassol and conquered the city. The Emperor did not expect this to happen, he fled in panic and took shelter in Nicosia. The story might have ended there if he had not been encouraged by his knights to make an unsuccessful attempt at killing the King of England. When that plan went wrong, the Emperor ran away to hide in Kantara castle, but his only daughter was captured by the King and that is when the Emperor realised he was defeated. He asked for mercy saying that he wanted nothing except to be loyal to the King. The King accepted his pleading but did put him into chains, even after he said he would not. The twist was that Richard had chains of silver made so no one could claim him guilty for lying about putting the Emperor in chains of iron.

The castle continued to be a place of refuge for many and it saw several wars but was never taken by an enemy even after being bombarded by massive catapults had been built on the slopes of the mountain.

Historical Landmarks