Old Town of Rhodes
Here, the fairy-tale dream is real
The island of Rhodes can offer two different experiences of unique value to guests: the exploration of the Old Town with its medieval and knightly buildings, and the exploration of the New Town with its modern tourist units and busy beaches. However, the Old Town, where our suites are located, is not only for a romantic amble. . It is a picturesque, atmospheric city that respects the tradition in every way, but at the same time, is alive, as if it was stepping into the distant medieval past and the present at the same time.
The Town is surrounded by medieval walls from all sides. . It is a labyrinth of alleys with small houses and imposing knightly buildings most of which were erected during the 15th and 16th centuries surrounded by about 35 medieval churches and several mosques. UNESCO has included the Old Town in the List of World Heritage Towns, and therefore, any change on the houses and buildings without the approval of the Archaeological Service is prohibited.
The intense medieval element is quite evident in the architecture of some of the buildings, monuments and ruins that exist in the Old Town. It is known as “the last refuge of the Order of St John Knights” who were defeated by the Ottomans. Although the guards were defeated after a fierce siege by the Ottomans, the Knights defended their city for years; hence it was a haven for Christians who refused to live under the Ottoman yoke.
The most characteristic element of this medieval city is its location within a 4 km-long wall with countless towers and bastions. . On these, one can see engraved the coat of arms of the Knights who built them, improved them, or defended them.
- The Old Town is divided into three main parts:
- the high town to the north called Collachio, where the ancient Acropolis (does not exist today) and the Palace of the Grand Master are located,
- the lower town to the south-southwest including Βorgo where “the common mortals” lived (today it is a residential and tourist area), and
- the Jewish quarter, which is mainly a residential part, but not as developed as the above two parts in terms of trade and tourism.
Walking through the Street of the Knights, we head to the Palace of the Grand Master· we are passing through the most ancient road of Rhodes which leads to the ancient Acropolis and where (according to legend) one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world was located, the Colossus of Rhodes.
The Street of the Knights
The famous Street of the Knights has been restored to the detail to its medieval form Along the Street are located the accommodations of most of the “tongues”, that is, the national groups that formed the Order of St John. Every “tongue” had its own seat or “inn” where the members gathered (they did not stay there permanently) while the official guests were also hosted there.
The Palace of the Grand Master
The Palace of the Grand Master is one of the most important architectural monuments in the whole complex of the Dodecanese (and Greece). It is located at the highest part of the Street of the Knights. Its gate, with the heavy wooden door and the two huge towers, is one of the most classic icons of Rhodes. This was one of the first buildings to be erected by the Knights· completed in 1346. It was leveled by an explosion in 1856. It was restored in 1939 by the Italian governor of the Dodecanese Cesare Maria de Vecchi, who literally built it from scratch, making it even more imposing than it originally was. Today, the Palace functions as a museum. Its exhibits include furniture, chandeliers, carpets, vases, statues, armor, and other artifacts. The decoration of this imposing building is completed by capitals, medieval furniture, mirrors, paintings, candlesticks, and more, while its mosaic floors are also wonderful. In the basement there is a wing dedicated to ancient Rhodes, with findings from the excavations carried out in the middle of the 20th century, in Mandraki.
Temple of the Sun-God “Helios”
Under the foundations of the Palace of the Grand Master, archaeologists place the temple of the ancient patron saint of Rhodes, the god Helios. There are many who even consider that here - and not at the entrance of the port - was the Colossus of Rhodes. Legend has it that the statue was visible from the sea and that when it fell, it leveled the nearby buildings.
Entering the Old Town from the Marine Gate, the most impressive of all, we walk into the Ippokratous Square, a very touristy and popular place for meeting and ambulation. Ippokratous Square opens out onto the two of the most central streets of the Old Town: Aristotelous Street, which leads east to the Jewish Martyrs Square, and Socrates Street, the busiest street in the old market.
Jewish Martyrs Square
The Square of Jewish Martyrs is also called Sea Horse Square, because there is a charming sea horse fountain located here. Jewish Martyrs Square is a very touristy and busy place.
It is the commercial street of the Old Town, with dozens of commercial and tourist shops. At the top of Socrates Street dominates the Suleimaniye Mosque, built by Sultan Suleiman immediately after the occupation of Rhodes. At the point where Socrates Street meets Orfeos Street, one can find the Medieval Clock Tower (Roloi).
Medieval Clock Tower
From the top of the Medieval Clock Tower the visitor can enjoy the panoramic view of the city. The watch was created by Fethi Pasha in 1857. . Its old mechanism is considered one of the technological achievements of the 19th century. Open to all visitors.