The Greek Islands and Athens
Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, and the largest of the island group, it is one of the most visited of the Greek islands with its numerous sandy beaches, un-
The jewel in the crown of Rhodes, is the wonderful, and well preserved, medieval city built by the Knights of St John, who used the island as their main base from 1309 until 1522.
The jewel in the crown of Rhodes, is the wonderful, and well preserved, medieval city built by the Knights of St John, who used the island as their main base from 1309 until 1522. The main gate to the city has twin, turreted towers. The coat of arms above the gate belong to Grand Master del Villeneuve who ruled the city from 1390 to 1346. The city is surrounded by a dry moat and over two miles (3 km) of walls, in which are set eleven gates. The city is divided into two parts, the Collachium, which dates from 1309 which was the Knights quarter, and the Bourg, which was home to the rest of the population. As one of the finest medieval walled cities in existence, it is now a World Heritage Site.
The Palace of the Grand Master is one of the most imposing buildings in medieval Rhodes. Originally built in the fourteenth century, it was damaged by an earthquake in 1851. Further damage was caused by an explosion when gunpowder was ignited in 1856. The Italians started restoring the palace in 1939 for use as a summer palace for Mussolini, but in doing so, removed most of its original character.
The old town is simply a pleasure to walk around. The main streets are mostly the preserve of the tourist industry, but that is only what you would expect from the main attraction on the island. But turn off the main thoroughfares, and you enter into an enchanted kingdom of narrow cobbled streets joined by arches. My advice would be to buy a map but not to use it unless you have to, just walk and enjoy the experience.
Just next to the city walls are some wonderful gardens. It is the ideal place to escape all the traffic noise and pollution of the new town.
Mandraki harbour is the hub of life in Rhodes town. It is lined with excursion boats where a variety of trips can be booked, including a trip to the picturesque harbour on the island of Symi.
The fifteenth century fortress of Agios Nikolaos, now used as a lighthouse, stands on a promontory past three medieval windmills. If you look carefully at the walls you will be able to see that in some places carved blocks robbed from an even older building have been used in its construction.
A bronze doe stands on one side of the harbour entrance, with a bronze stag on the other, where, it is said, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes, straddled the harbour entrance, although others believe it probably stood at what is now the site of the Palace of the Grand Masters.
Located 55 kilometres south of Rhodes town is the popular holiday resort of Lindos. The resort has three very good beaches, and is also an important archaeological site. Towering above the village is the acropolis, on which stands the remains of a citadel which attracts many thousands of visitors every year. The paths leading to the top are steep and in some places quite rough. If you do not fancy the climb, you can hire a donkey and ride to the top.