13 Feb Kolossi Castle, Cyprus
The best preserved Hospitaller monument on Cyprus, and the most researched, is Kolossi Castle, but there’s more to Kolossi than the ‘castle’. Firstly, the castle is more of a keep than a defensive structure, used as an administrative centre for the Grand Commandery of Cyprus to oversee the fertile agricultural land that surrounds it. As if to illustrate this, right by the castle is a sugar factory and to produce sugar – the most profitable produce on medieval Cyprus – one needs water. Hence the aqueduct leading from the spring to the factory.
Yet the Knights Hospitaller were a religious-military order, and even when travelling or at war would gain papal permission to carry a portable alter and celebrate mass before daybreak, according to the Calendar of Papal Letters. St. Eustathios Church is just outside the commandery walls and although a Byzantine church, it was also used and patronised by the Hospitallers. Their coat of arms was on the church until the early 20th century, but are no longer visible.