People from around the globe arrive every year, to discover the fascinating age-old history of the castles, returning home with a sense of fulfillment, with memorable experiences to share!
KRITINIA CASTLE (Kastello)
At the south of Rhodes you will see the amphitheatrically built village of Kritinia with fantastic views of the sea and the dominating Kastello, a Venetian Castle built in the 16th century AD.
The imposing medieval structure with its’ ruined church of Saint Paul perched on a steep rock with a height of (430ft/131m) offering a fantastic experience especially when the sunsets.
This was also one of the key strategic fortresses used by the Knights of the Order of Saint John originally on three levels with each level assigned to a different Grand Master.
It is considered the ‘gem’ of the village as it offers a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea, the island of Chalki and some other deserted islands; it is interesting to wander around. The traditional village Kritinia has a great beach and local taverns, an excellent spot to visit!
Just outside the traditional village of Monolithos, located 78 km south-west of Rhodes town, you will meet another Venetian style castle.
Monolithos castle was built by the Knights of St. John around 1480 in order to protect the island from attacks and is placed on a rock 236 m high; in fact the path towards the castle is so rough that no one has ever managed to conquer it. Unfortunately this castle has not been preserved with most of its parts being completely ruined but still constitutes a wonderful proof of the medieval history of Rhodes.
It’s a bit far from the main tourist attractions of Rhodes to reach, but it’s totally worth it! You can drive to the foot of the cliff, park your car at a convenient spot, and follow the narrow little steps all the way up until you reach the summit. The steps – whilst not particularly steep – are quite slippery simply due to the numbers of visitors wearing them away.
Inside the perimeter of the walls, there are two 15th century chapels – St Panteleimon and St George. Looking around the ruins it is easy to notice that the castle was actually built on the foundations of another, older castle.
But it’s not for the ruins or even the beautiful whitewashed churches that you would embark to climb the 100 steps to the top – it’s the breathtaking view from there that looks over the Aegean Sea and the numerous islets off the western coast, the mountain of Akramytis and innumerable hills.
A visitor said: “In Greece the landscape often gives you a sense of the presence of the Gods!” Monolithos is certainly one of these.
The site is open all day and has no entry fee. Take your time with the steps to reach the castle... plenty of places to stop to catch your breath away … take a photo or two!
The Lindos Castle is found on the top of a 116m rock and serves as an entrance point to the Acropolis and the temple of Athena and once was used as the administrative building of the Knights. Today, the ascent to the acropolis is still by the same steep road as in the ancient times.
After the first outer entrance to the medieval fortress, and before beginning to climb the large stairway that leads up to the Administrative Building of the Knights, we encounter two important monuments on our left a semicircular Hellenistic exedra.
Next to it, a depiction of the prow of an ancient ship carved in relief in the rock, which formed the base of a statue of Agesandros son of Milkion, the work of the sculptor Pythokritos in the early 2nd c. BC. The fortification of Lindos by the Knights goes back to the 14th-15th c AD. Passing through the ground - floor of the Knights Administrative Build Building, you emerge into a large square, which occupies the lowest level of the acropolis and was full of votive offerings in ancient times.
Visitors may wander ahead from the main square of the village and then left heading up towards the castle. Built by the Crusaders under Grand Master Orsini in 1467 as part of a chain of defenses against the Turks, the outer walls are the only significant remains.