Rhodes Town Travel Summary

Rhodes (Ródhos) is deservedly among the most visited of all Greek islands – it’s one of the finest medieval walled cities you could ever hope to see.  The Old Town is one of the most extensive and well preserved medieval walled towns in Europe.  The ancient city that occupied this site, laid out during the fifth century BC by Hippodamos of Miletos.

The Rhodes Town Travel Summary is segmented into 3 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Rhodes Town:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town;
  2. A Suggested Itinerary:
  3. What to See

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

Rhodes Town is fabulously well preserved with Hellenistic, Ottoman, Byzantine, Gothic and Italian architecture, and an impressively preserved medieval centre and deservedly has UNESCO World Heritage status – the Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and set about transforming the city into a stronghold..  The ancient city that occupied this site, laid out during the fifth century BC by Hippodamos of Miletos.

Medieval buildings, mosques, traditional fountains, oriental motifs, Byzantine and Gothic churches, shops and cafeterias are scattered throughout the Old Town of Rhodes, all blending together to create a unique and picturesque whole. The old town is a labyrinth of alleyways therefore losing your bearings here isn’t defeat; it’s an opportunity. The imposing buildings, with their coats-of-arms, majestic gateways, decoration in relief, Gothic windows, paved courtyards and old lamps take one centuries back in time, as do the narrow streets and old churches. As a living monument to the past it is unique in Europe, if not the world.

There are three distinct quarters, the Knight’s Quarter which was laid out by the medieval Knights of St John.  The Turkish Quarter (Hora) is a tangle of cobbled alleyways that are filled with restaurants and a number of derelict mosque and the Jewish Quarter which is mainly residential.  There are only pedestrian streets inside the walls. You will be able to take a nice stroll and enjoy its charming paved alleys and historical monuments.

The Acropolis is a must-see site. It’s perched on a hill so the theatres, temples and stadiums have an electric blue sea backdrop. Unlike many Medieval cities, thousands of people still live and work in the town so it’s just as lively today as it was in the 14th century.

 

2. A Suggested Itineraries

 

8am – Visit Mandráki Harbour:

The old Mandráki Harbour provides a wonderful entrance into Rhodes Old Town, dating from the city’s founding in 408 BC is lined by three beautiful disused windmills, with the 15th-century Fort St. Nicholas on its northern tip.

At the entrance to the harbour are two stone columns topped by bronze figures of a stag and a doe.  The mythical Colossus of Rhodes (a giant third-century-BC statue of Helios, a handsome Greek god and personification of the sun) is said to have straddled the entrance to the harbour where the deer now stand.  The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the Seven Wonders of the World

11am – Check out Saint Nicholas Fort:

Admire the fortifications of Saint Nicholas Fort.   It was originally constructed as a relatively small round tower of a diameter a little wider than 17 meters in 1465 by Grand Master Pedro Raymondo Zacosta and was adorned with a relief of Saint Nicholas and the Coats of Arms of Master Zacosta and the Duke of Burgundy.  After being besieged in 1480 it was restored by Master Pierre d’ Aubusson.

Afternoon – The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes:

The magnificent castle-like palace looks much as it did when erected by the 14th-century Knights Hospitaller.  The Palace is located at the end of the beautiful Street of the Knights in the Old Town of Rhodes.  Constructed in the 14th century by the Knights of Saint John, it is distinguishable by its spherical towers and arched gate.

The ground floor hosts two permanent exhibitions of the ancient and medieval city of Rhodes, while on the first floor the visitors can admire the restored magnificent halls of the Palace as well as the remarkable floor mosaics of  the late Hellenistic period.

Evening – Walk the incredibly well preserved Castle walls:

Enjoy walking around the ramparts of one of the finest examples of medieval fortifications in the world.  Initially built during the Byzantine period, they were extended and reinforced by the knights between the 14th and 16th centuries.  The walls have a number impressive towers, bastions, several magnificent gates, a dry moat, and artillery firing posts.  Then head off into the old town for some Greek cuisine.

3. What to See

 

The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The magnificent castle-like palace looks much as it did when erected by the 14th-century Knights Hospitaller
  • The Palace is located at the end of the beautiful Street of the Knights in the Old Town of Rhodes
  • Constructed in the 14th century by the Knights of Saint John, it is distinguishable by its spherical towers and arched gate
  • The ground floor hosts two permanent exhibitions of the ancient and medieval city of Rhodes, while on the first floor the visitors can admire the restored magnificent halls of the Palace as well as the remarkable floor mosaics of the late Hellenistic period
  • The rooms have antique furniture of the 16th and the 17th century, exquisite multi-coloured marbles, sculptures, carpets, and fine Oriental vases

 

The Street of the Knights

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Hailed as one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval streets, Street of the Knights (Odos Ippoton) stretches from the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes to the port. The lane was once home to the Knights of St. John, who lived in streetside inns
  • The seven inns represented the seven countries that the Knights came from and at the top of the Street is the Castle of the Grand Master
  • Most of the Grand Masters were French so their influence on the architecture was considerable
  • Stonemasons and craftsmen were for the most part Greek but workers from France and Spain were also brought here

 

Temple of Aphrodite:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Temple of Aphrodite is located on Symi Square in front of the Eleftherias Gate in Rhodes. It dates from the third century BC.
  • It was built to honour of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty of Greek mythology
  • Although you cannot walk through the temple grounds, you can get close enough to study some of the old fallen columns
  • Look closely and you may be able to make out some inscriptions on a couple of the stone slabs

 

The Roloi Clock Tower

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The clocktower is a byzantine structure that was originally built at the end of the 7th. century, and has undergone several rebirth since.
  • You can enjoy beautiful views of Rhodes and Old Town from the top of the clock tower

 

Town Walls:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • One of the finest examples of medieval fortifications in the world. Initially built during the Byzantine period, they were extended and reinforced by the knights between the 14th and 16th centuries
  • The walls are four km in length, and in parts up to 12 meters thick
  • The walls have a number impressive towers, bastions, several magnificent gates, a dry moat, and artillery firing posts

 

Süleyman Mosque:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Suleymaniye Mosque or the is a mosque originally built after the Ottoman conquest of Rhodes in 1522 and reconstructed in 1808
  • It was named by the Sultan Suleiman to commemorate his conquest of Rhodes

 

Mandráki Harbour:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The old Mandráki Harbour, dating from the city’s founding in 408 BC is lined by three beautiful disused windmills, with the 15th-century Fort St. Nicholas on its northern tip
  • At the entrance to the harbour are two stone columns topped by bronze figures of a stag and a doe
  • The mythical Colossus of Rhodes (a giant third-century-BC statue of Helios, a handsome Greek god and personification of the sun) is said to have straddled the entrance to the harbour where the deer now stand
  • The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the Seven Wonders of the World

 

Saint Nicholas Fort:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Saint Nicholas Fort is located at the end of the Mandraki harbour
  • It was originally constructed as a relatively small round tower of a diameter a little wider than 17 meters in 1465 by Grand Master Pedro Raymondo Zacosta and was adorned with a relief of Saint Nicholas and the Coats of Arms of Master Zacosta and the Duke of Burgundy
  • After being besieged in 1480 it was restored by Master Pierre d’ Aubusson

 

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