The Medieval Castle of Lemesos, situated near the old harbour in the heart of the historical centre of the city of Lemesos, houses the Medieval Collection of the Cyprus Museum. Although there existed earlier architectural phases of an older and larger structure, the present edifice dates to the period of Ottoman rule. Archaeological investigation within the castle revealed that it was built over an Early Christian basilica (4th-7th century A.D.) and a Middle Byzantine monument (10th-11th century A.D.). Other finds beneath the Castle witness the existence of an important church, possibly the city’s first cathedral. According to Etienne Lusignan, the original castle was erected by Guy de Lusignian in 1193. From its erection until the beginning of the 16th century, damages were caused by the continous attacks of the town by the Genoese and the Mameluks as well as by earthquakes alternating with restorations and reconstructions. In 1538 the Ottomans captured Lemesos and the Castle. The Venetian governor of Cyprus, after recapturing the Castle, decided to demolish it in order to avoid its possible seizure. This destruction was completed in 1567/8. After the Ottoman acquisition of Cyprus in 1576, the remains or parts of the remains of the Castle were incorporated (ca. 1590) in the new Ottoman fort which was considerably strengthened.
The underground chamber and the first floor were transformed into prison cells and remained in use until 1950. When the central prisons were transferred to Lefkosia, the Castle of Lemesos was ceded to the Department of Antiquities and used as the District Museum. It has housed the Medieval Collection of the Cyprus Museum since 1987.
Cyprus’ historical development, its economic, social and artistic evolution as well as the daily life of its people from the 3rd to the 18th century A.D., can be acknowledged through the exhibits of this Collection.
Opening hours Monday – Friday: 8.00 – 17.00 / Saturday: 9.00 – 17.00 / Sunday: 10:00 – 13:00
Accessibility Non wheelchair accessible