THE ISLAND OF THE KNIGHTS
The many names of Rhodes also reveal the multilateral character of the island: green, cosmopolitan, sunny with lacy coasts, and rich in tradition and history. From mythology until recent history, the island’s past is charming and mysterious: it is said that Apollo, the Sun god was absent when the twelve gods distributed the world.
So, he asked for the “island that would emerge from the waves”. Thus, Rhodes has always a place in the sun’s heart, which sheds its light on this blessed island, and fills it with green, color, and creation.
The city of Rhodes is located at the south end of the island that has the shape of a perfectly cut diamond. With the Old City in its heart, you will find the center of commercial activity of the island, as well as many sights and opportunities for walking and sightseeing.
Its architecture is a combination of classical, Gothic, medieval and Arab influences, while the presence of the Italians is also evident in the town planning and the manufacture of the impressive buildings of the commercial center of the city, the said Mandraki. The port, the beacon of Saint Nicolas, the Aquarium, the Ancient Stadium with the temple of the Sun god, are some of the locations that will charm all visitors with their unique beauty.
A Museum of Neohellenic Art operates in the city, while in the Medieval City, the old Hospital of the Knights hosts nowadays the Archaeological Museum, where you will see great findings from ancient Kamiros, and mosaics of the Hellenistic period, as well as great value sculptures, such as Marine Venus. We should note that the Winged Victory (Nike) of Samothrace, which is exhibited in the Museum of the Louvre, and the Laocoon complex in the Museum of the Vatican, are two of the famous works that belong in the School of Rhodian Sculpture of the Hellenistic period.
The Colossus of Rhodes
One of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes was a 33 m. high copper statue depicting the god of Sun, situated over the port of Rhodes and built by the famous sculptor Haris of Lindos. There are many legends regarding its exact position, its appearance as well as its fall destruction. It is said that it was almost as high as the Statue of Liberty, in New York and that it was meant to resemble Alexander the Great.
The Medieval City
A legend by itself, the Medieval City of Rhodes is the best preserved, inhabited medieval city of Europe and a Cultural Heritage Monument of UNESCO. It was divided in two sections: the first was the so-called Collachium, the high class sector where the Knights lived, divided in eight “Languages” (national, as well as administrative groups).
Τhis was the most prominent and prosperous part of the city, which included the Palace of the Grand Master, the accommodations of the Knights, the large temples of the order, Saint John of Collachium, and Virgin Mary of the Castle, and other significant installations.
The second area was named Bourg, the most low caste neighbourhood, where lay people and common soldiers lived. The wall of the Medieval City with the 13 bastions and the impressive trench was a pioneering example of fortification for its time, and was indeed able to push back hordes of enemies of all nationalities.
Rhodes is an island that gradually reveals itself to the visitor, and calls them to revisit it in order to enjoy its many sights. In the center of the city, apart from the impressive Old City, the old Acropolis of Rhodes is still standing at the Monte Smith hill, where the temple of Apollo Pythian is located with a well preserved ancient stadium and a mable open conservatory.
You can also visit the impressive cemetary of Karakonero featuring burial complexes of the later Hellenistic period, as well as the Aquarium, a unique, atmospheric shelter of marine organisms, with seawater, on the edge of the island.
Kallithea Springs, Seven Springs, Archangelos
On the eastern side of the island, at a small distance from the city, you will find one of the most beautiful and famous sites of Rhodes, the Kallithea Springs. There, the Italian architectural eclecticism is evident in all its glory, in combination with the natural landscape and the crystal clear waters of the bay. A real pearl in the island’s chest.
A stop at Seven Springs, an oasis of greenery and coolness during the summer, will reveal the small waterfall. This impressive project was used for the supply of the Kolymbia village with water.
Further along the eastern side, you will find the castle of Archangelos, built during the Knight period, as well as the village itself, a traditional Rhodian “hive” full of activity and lively memories both in the interior decoration of the village’s houses as well as the preserving of the island’s customs.
Lindos, a pearl in the Aegean Sea
Nothing can prepare the visitor, for the stunning sight that they will face when they see the Acropolis of Lindos and the majestic settlement at a bend of the road. A breathtaking beauty that takes the viewer to the past, which suddenly doesn’t seem so remote.
Lindos was built by the Dorians, like the other two big cities of ancient Rhodes, Kamiros and Ialyssos. During the byzantine period, the acropolis of the city was transformed to a fortress, which was reinforced later by the Knights of the Order of Saint John. The temple of Athena Lindia, which is located in the castle, has its root in the geometric era, around the 9th century B.C. The ancient theater, at the slope of the hill, with a capacity of over 1,500 viewers, is also typical of the era.
Probably most beautiful view of the island is the view of the natural bay of Agios Pavlos (Saint Paul) from the hill of the Acropolis of Lindos. A small port with crystal clear turquoise and green waters that seems like an oasis from the distance of 116 m. between the castle and the sea. It is said that Apostle Paul disembarked there during his journey.f