Rhodes Old Town: An Animated History
The island of Rhodes is one of the best Greek resorts offering to combine a chic vacation against the backdrop of natural beauties with a tour of ancient attractions that have witnessed significant events in ancient history.
The capital of the same name was founded in 408 BC. e. Now about 70 thousand people live in it, but if we add the tourists who come here during the year, the number of people increases by 2-3 times depending on the season.
The city is divided into 3 parts:
Residential. This is something like a sleeping area, but with Greek flavor. The local population lives there.
New one. It is focused on tourists. The quarters are built up with hotels, shops, restaurants, bars and other infrastructure necessary for a comfortable stay of guests from different countries.
I’m old. This is the most interesting, romantic and beautiful part of Rhodes, which allows you to move in time and feel the spirit of bygone days. Every tourist is obliged to visit here.
Old Town – Knights Heritage
The old part of Rhodes, founded by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century, is protected by the state and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Ancient warriors not only brilliantly repelled the attacks of the enemy, but were also outstanding architects and builders. They expanded the borders of the ancient settlement, surrounded it with high, strong walls, arranged a moat and erected bastions. The result was an impregnable fortress, which to this day is considered the best example of fortifications.
A real gem is hidden inside the fortress walls – knightly houses with an original exterior, palaces, mosques, Byzantine churches, gardens, narrow cobbled streets and squares. The entrance to the old part of the city is opened by 11 gates, the main ones are located at the port.
Old Town Districts
The old city is divided into 2 parts: Kollakio (once knights lived there) and Burgo (was considered the center of social, political and cultural life).
The symbolic landmark of this part of the settlement is the Liberty Gate and the gate of d’Amboise, organically continuing the 4-kilometer wall. If you go through these ancient giants, you will open the way to the intangible wealth of Rhodes.
It was housed in a former hospital of the Johannites, dating from 1440-14481. The Gothic building contains many artifacts, the most famous of which are tombstones from the necropolis of Kamiros (5th century BC), a marble statue of Aphrodite of Rhodes (1st century BC) , the stone head of the sun god Helios (2nd century BC), found in the ruins of a temple on Monte Smith Hill, coins, household items and ceramic items from Mycenaean tombs.
Opening hours from every day from 08.00 to 18:30, except holidays. Admission: adults – 6 €, children (under 18 years old) – free of charge.
It is a Byzantine church, built in the 11th century. It was once the main temple of the Johannites, which was later rebuilt into the Enderum Mosque (Red Mosque) during the Turkish rule. Today it is a museum where you can admire an impressive collection of icons and murals from all over Greece.
The museum is open daily from 08.00 to 15:00, excluding holidays. Admission: adults – 6 €, children (under 18 years old) – free of charge.
In the Middle Ages, this street was of great importance: it connected the Big Port with the Temple of Helios. Residences for prominent representatives of the Order of St. John were built on it. The most interesting from the point of view of architecture are the houses of knights from Italy, Provence, Aragon, Castilla, Germany and Auvergne.
Palace of the Grand Masters
The massive structure, located on a hill, stretches over the old part of the metropolis. When it was the temple of Helios, then the Byzantine fort, which in the 14th century turned into the Palace of 19 great masters. The structure was destroyed by an accidental explosion in 1856 and was rebuilt in the mid-1930s.
Opening hours are daily from 08.00 to 18:00, except holidays. Admission: adults – 6 €, children (under 18 years old) – free of charge.
Melina Mercury Theater
This ancient antique building, located near the fortress walls, was relatively recently named after the outstanding Greek actress Melina Mercury. On the open air venue, festivals, exhibitions, master classes, regularly hold performances and play performances are regularly held.
This is not only a visiting card of the island, but also the highest part of the Old Town. Steep narrow steps lead to the top of the Clock Tower, and a panoramic view of the surrounding beauty opens from the observation deck.
Admission is 5 €. Opening hours are 08.00 to 18:00.