With around 150,000 inhabitants, Limassol is the second-largest city in Cyprus. Originally a small fishing village, following the Turkish invasion in 1974 the city has continued to grow extensively and is now the largest transit trade port in the Mediterranean and the region's most important tourism, trade and service centre. Modern Limassol is the centre of the island’s wine production, and where the annual crop is celebrated with a wine festival each year. The carnival is held in the city every spring, another established cultural tradition.
Limassol castle was built in the 14th century and is famous for the marriage between England’s Richard the Lionheart and Berengaria von Navarra that was held here in 1191. Today, the castle houses the museum of mediaeval Cyprus and Limassol district museum contains a collection of artefacts that have been found in the Limassol region.
15 kilometres to the west, on the road to Paphos, is Kolossi castle. This beautiful example of military architecture was originally built in the 13th century. The fort first served as the high command of the Knights of the Templar and, following the fall of Acre in 1291, as the headquarters of the Order of St. John. Located four kilometres further on is Kourion, an ancient city kingdom and one of the island's most interesting and impressive archaeological sites. Excavations are constantly unearthing new treasures. The wonderful Greco-Roman amphitheatre, originally built in the 2nd century B.C., was extended in the 2nd century A.D. Today, it has been restored and is used for musical and theatrical performances.
Today the city of Limassol's art gallery exhibits works by renowned Cypriot painters.
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