Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights

The most prominent historical and architectural landmark of the medieval city of Rhodes, located at the end of the Street of the Knights, at the highest point of the medieval city of Rhodes.

The palace was founded in the early 14th century, in the place of the Byzantine fortress of the 7th century AD, built by the Knights of St. John (1309-1522) in the northwest edge of the medieval city.

The palace is square; buildings designed around a large courtyard with impressive towers, massive walls, and elaborate decorative elements, one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece.

The Ottomans, who captured Rhodes in the 16th century, used the castle as a fortress and a command center.  It remained unscathed until 1856 when a gunpowder explosion in the basement of the nearby Church of St. John almost destroyed the palace.

 

 

At the beginning of the 20th century, during the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese Islands, the palace saw extensive restoration work. Between 1937 and 1940 the Italian architect Vittorio Mesturino rebuilt it to become a holiday residence for King Victor Emmauel III and later for the dictator Benito Mussolini, whose name is still set on a huge plaque at the entrance of the Palace.

After the annexation of the Dodecanese in Greece in 1948, the first floor of the palace was transformed by the Greek authorities’ into a museum containing various artistic creations, antique folk art from the middle ages, weapons, medieval tombstones, jewelry, books, paintings, statues and other findings.

One of the greatest attractions for visitors who visit the Medieval City of Rhodes.