THE HIGHEST WATCH IN RHODES!
In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is the Dodecanese, one of the Greek archipelagos that dot the Aegean Sea. Although its name means "twelve islands", the Dodecanese, in fact, consists of many islands of all sizes. Among all of them, the island of Rhodes stands out, the most extensive and where the capital of the archipelago, also called Rhodes, is located. As the island and the capital have the same name, we must clarify that, throughout this article, we are going to discover the secrets of Rhodes “the city”
Located at the northern end of the island, this capital rests on a cape of rocks that seems to want to reach the lands of neighbouring Turkey, and the fact is that there are few kilometres that separate Rhodes from the Turkish coast!Besides owning some wonderful urban beaches that border almost the entire perimeter of the cape, Rhodes has a huge cultural and monumental heritage left behind by the important melting pot of civilizations that this island has welcomed throughout history. It is that since time immemorial, many peoples have settled in Rhodes, such as the Greeks, the Turks, the Italians, the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims... and all of them left a great mark on this monumental city.
Much of this multicultural legacy is concentrated in the so-called Old City of Rhodes, which is the medieval area that remains within the walls. In the Old City, a tower awaits us, from where we can see all the treasures of Rhodes from above. It´s the Clock Tower,located right next to the Grand Master’s Palace.The beautiful "Roloi" we enjoy today is a magnificent reconstruction of an original defensive tower erected by the Byzantines in the 7th century, which was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1851.
Therefore, at the base of the tower you can clearly distinguish the primitive remains of the original tower.The fact that it is in the highest part of the medieval area makes the Clock Tower the best sight of Rhodes. After paying a ticket of around 5 euros, we will be able to access its top where we will enjoy a unique panoramic view. To the north and behind the red roof of the Tourkiko School, the majestic Grand Master’s Palace stretches out and, in the distance, the Coast of Turkeyis perfectly visible!
The south-facing views are also spectacular, as the elegant minaret of the nearby Suleiman Mosqueappears before our eyes, rivalling the Clock Tower in height. To the east is the Mills Wharfand to the west, the impressive St. George´s Bastion.But here the surprises don´t end... it´s that as we descend from the tower, in a courtyard, awaits us a small exhibition showing original clockwork machines, where we will be invited for a drink. A good idea to regain strength after climbing!
Clock Tower / Medieval Roloi Clock Tower
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
MOUSSAKA, A GREEK WHIM
There is something that the tourist always values ??when visiting a new place, and that is what good gastronomy this place can have. Fortunately, this is something that happens in Greece, since this country has an extremely healthy cuisine, based on natural products, made through recipes that bring together all the Mediterranean wisdom. Furthermore, in Rhodes, the ancient Greek gastronomic culture is valued thanks to the heritage received from the great cultural mix that this island has fought for centuries.Rhode’s cuisine is full of healthy recipes. Often, given the high summer temperatures, what we most want is a cold dish, which isundoubtedly a good idea. But one thing is for sure... you can´t leave Rhodes without trying one of their most fabulous hot recipes, moussaka!You will have the opportunity to try both options, as in Rhodes the traditional menus consist of three dishes.
he first consists of starters or mezetes, which are a good opportunity to order a cold starter, such as a light and refreshing salad. The second is the main course and here you can order a moussaka. The third consists of dessert and is ordered at the end of the meal.But what is a moussaka? It´s a traditional Greek recipe that consists of a kind of beef lasagne, but the slices that separate its layers are made from aubergine slices instead of pasta. So simple and so juicy! Plus, it´s a great way to eat meat and vegetables in one dish. This tasty recipe will delight all palates and thanks to it, eating vegetables becomes a real pleasure, even for children.
Although it is a typical Greek dish, the origin of moussakais in the Middle East. In fact, the term moussaka comes from the Arabic word saqqa?a, which means "to turn white". The recipe travelled to Greece and is here to stay. The more traditional Greek version of moussakais made with minced lamb, but it can also be found with minced pork or beef, although in the latter case the taste is softer. The recipe is complemented with tomatoes, onions, carrots and, of course, with aubergines.
As a final touch, the dish is topped with béchamel sauce and Parmesan cheese, seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs to taste, such as dried thyme.Moussakais a very stuffed recipe, so always remember to accompany it with a light starter. If after eating the moussakayou get very satiated, there´s nothing better than drinking an ouzoas a digestive, an anise liqueur flavoured liquorice very typical in Greece. Of course, these Greeks know everything!
A VERY WISE SHOPPING...
The Old City of Rhodes has a lively shopping area, full of shops, restaurants, lots of life and abundant wisdom! This whole area, always so busy, is made up of streets and squares whose names pay after the glorious academic past of classical Greece. Come with us for a tour of the commercial area of ??Rhodes, we will be infected by its feverish and constant activity, while absorbing the knowledge of classical Greek. A good way to get to know this area of ??Rhodes is to stroll along the most important shopping street of the city, starting from the Suleiman Mosque. It is the iconic Sokratous Street, whose relevant commercial character dates to the past, as it is the main artery of the Turkish bazaar in Rhodes.
In fact, this street borders on the north, called the Turkish Quarterof Rhodes, which is the whole area that will be on our right when we cross Sokratous Street from the Suleiman Mosque.The Turkish Quarter of Rhodes covers the entire area between Suleiman Mosque, Sokratous Street and Pythagora Street. It is an area full of Turkish heritage, squares with fountains, temples and alleys with houses built in vaults. The Ottomans occupied this area from the 16th century onwards, expelling the native Greeks, who were forced to settle in newer neighbourhoods of the city. This displacement was so marked that the Greeks were only allowed to enter the Turkish quarter during the day.
Poor Greeks who dared to enter the Turkish quarter at night...!Today, Sokratous Street is a wonderful pedestrian street, full of shops and life. Here we will find all kinds of establishments, from attractive Mediterranean souvenir shops to luxury stores of the most relevant brands. This street, besides being a shopping paradise, takes us directly to the source of Greek wisdom. After walking through the 400 meters that make up Sokratous Street, we will arrive at Hippocrates Square, a beautiful plain with a refreshing fountain in which the streets converge with the wisest names of Humanity: Sokratous Street, Ippokratous Street, Pythagora Street, Aristotelous Street, Themistokleous Street, Evripidou Street… and of course, among so much wisdom, Platonos Street could not be missed!
on´t you remember those names? They were the most important sages, philosophers, poets and politicians of classical Greece and are present in the busiest area of ??Rhodes, so that we always keep in mind their entire cultural legacy.All these wisely named streets that converge on Hippocrates Square, not only have a plethora of shops, but are also full of establishments where we can regain strength during our shopping walk. And it is understood that "shopping and resting" is a smart way to shop!
Suleiman MosqueApollonion 11
Rhodes 851 00, Greece Sokratous Street
Rhodes 851 00, Greece Hippocratic Square
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
THE SEA MILLS
The city of Rhodes sits on a pointed rocky cape, the eastern part of which has several piers and breakwaters that go to the sea and make up different marinas and ports. These docks allow boats to dock and access maritime traffic, providing us with the magnificent opportunity to take a pleasant walk by the sea, and enjoying beautiful views.One of these promenades also has some wonderful monuments that will make our tour a magnificent opportunity to take excellent photos, always with the blue Aegean Sea in the background. We are talking about the dam that protects the oldest port of the city, the Port of Mandraki, now used only by private tour boats.
The port of Mandraki has a breakwater that must be crossed to the end to discover all its treasures. There is a pedestrian promenade where we will find the first surprise worthy of being photographed... three magnificent windmills! These elegant medieval mills were used in the past to grind all the grain that ships brought into the port, thanks to their vigorous blades moved by the Aegean wind. They really are beautiful! By the way, one of the plants can be visited from the inside and its entrance is free.
At the end of the breakwater, another surprise awaits us... An elevated fort at the end of the dam which protects the entrance to the mouth of the old port of Rhodes. It is the Fort of St. Nicholas, a military, defensive construction that tells us about the past warrior of Rhodes. It is a large fortification, built during the 15th century by the Knights of the Order of San Juan.
You will be able to visit some areas of its ground floor and one of its towers, which presents a brief exhibition with the history of the fort. On the top roof of the fortification, a beautiful lighthousethat proudly indicates the entrance to the port.
The robust Fort of St. Nicholas is a magnificent place where you can take beautiful pictures illuminated by the light of the Aegean Sea.But the surprises of this breakwater don´t stop here... Very close to the Fort of St Nicholas, you can see that there are two tall columns,right at the port´s maritime entrance. There is a column on each side of the mouthpiece, and each one is covered by a statue of a deer. In one of the columns is the male Elaphe’sand in the other the female Elaphineand both deers are the symbols of Rhodes.
Remember the location of these columns, because this place is the protagonist of an important monument in Rhodes, as we will see later.Some beautiful medieval mills, a military fort, a proud lighthouse, watchful deer, the light of the Aegean Sea... How many protagonists to photograph on this breakwater!
Port of Mandraki
Plotarchou Plessa 2
Rhodes 851 00, Greece Rhodes Mills
Rhodes 851 00, Greece Fort of St. Nicholas
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
THE COLOSSAL "COLOSUS OF RHODES" At this point, in fact, let´s talk about a monument in Rhodes that no one will ever show you. It´s an impressive statue that hasn´t existed for centuries, but whose fame has survived intact to this day, crossing the boundary of time. We are talking about the Colossus of Rhodes, still famous even though it does not exist today. But it is precisely the fact that it no longer exists, that fills us with curiosity, and we want to know everything about this huge work whose construction was a milestone.Do you remember the location of the two columns with the deer that are on either side of the mouth of the port of Mandraki? Well, it is calculated, believed, thought... that it was in this precise place in Rhodes where the gigantic Colossus was located, a statue as magnificent as it is enigmatic...The Colossus of Rhodes was a huge statue dedicated to Helius, the Greek god of the sun, erected by the sculptor Cares de Lindos in the 3rd century B.C. Absolutely everything we know today about this monument; we owe it to texts left by different ancient writers and countless chronicles Byzantines. The gigantic statue was formed by bronze plates, mounted on an iron structure and was approximately 35 meters high and weighed about 70 tons. To give you an idea, it had dimensions very similar to those of the Statue of Liberty in the USA. But the most impressive was its imposing posture, because it was believed that each leg of the Colossus was supported on both side of the mouth, so when ships entered the port of Mandraki, they had to pass between its legs...It was decided to build this huge statue to commemorate Rhodes´ victory against ancient Medonius I, in a battle that took place in 304 B.C. To make a monument of such magnitude, Cares was hired, native sculptor of the island, who became so involved in the project that he ended up committing suicide by the pressure created by the doubts that perhaps he could not give the statue its proper stability. The Colossus works began around 292 B.C. and lasted 12 years. The Colossus resisted for years... until around 224 B.C. it was brought down by an earthquake!The Colossus collapsed due to the earthquake and its bronze pieces fell scattered throughout the port. Its inhabitants decided to leave these remains as they fell, considering it a divine wish. They remained so for almost a thousand years, until the Muslims began to loot these bronze pieces during their attacks.After these looting, the trace of this titanic statue was lost, which, despite its ephemeral construction, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A legendary statue that stood for just 56 years but is still alive in our illusion today. Address:Port MandrakiPlotarchou Plessa 2Rhodes 851 00, Greece
THE PATH OF THE DITCH
As we have seen before, throughout its history, Rhodes has received a huge multicultural heritage, and a large part of this legacy is found in the so-called Old City, which is the vast pedestrian area that forms part of the wall. The Old Cityis a real treasure which is also the largest medieval area in all of Europe! And precisely, the challenge we propose to you in Rhodes lies in the wall that surrounds it...The extensive wallthat borders the Old City of Rhodeswas built by the Knights of St. John when they arrived on the island in the early 14th century.
These Christian soldiers built a fortified wall about two miles long, reinforced by numerous towers and strong balustrades. This mighty fortified complex made Rhodes one of the strongest Christian strongholds in the world. Today, all the elements that make up the fortification are in very good condition and can be travelled externally by a path that exists in its ditch. This is precisely the challenge we suggest you take on in Rhodes... getting around the wall walking along the path of its ditch!A good starting point for this walk is the access to the ditch at the back of the Palace of the Grand Master.
Once on the way, we´ll begin to walk west, so that the palace and wall are to our left.The wall has a total of eleven gates, of which the most spectacular is the Amboise Gate, the first of the route. From there on, begins a party of bastions, towers and gates, monuments that will always be on our left during this tour and which we can also admire from the outside. These fortifications include the Baluarte of St. George, the Tower of Spain, the Gate of St. Athanasius, the Gate of St. John and the Bastion of Carretto. In addition, from this ditch, you can perfectly see the great thickness of the wall, which reaches twelve meters...The path through the ditch ends at Bastion of Carrettoand until then we will have walked about two kilometres.
But to make this fortified route more complete, we can continue around the wall for another kilometre through urban streets and lanes, until we reach the emblematic Marina Gate,located very close to Hippocrates Square. This sturdy gate impresses with its mighty towers that still retain a beautiful bas-relief bearing the coat of arms of its founding Grand Master.Taking this route, we will have walked about three kilometres bordering the mighty wall that protected the Order of St. John for two centuries, until in 1522 the Ottomans invaded Rhodes.
The Christian knights then took refuge in Valletta, where their order changed its name to the Order of Malta. Of course, before they were forced to leave, these crusaders left a fabulous legacy in Rhodes.
Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
Bastion of Carretto
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
A VERY GLAMOROUS GODDESS
As we have just seen, at one end of Ippotonis the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, occupying the building of the former Knights Hospital. This museum is a jewel worth visiting both for the treasures it contains, and for its own architecture, which is amazing.The fact that Rhodes have been inhabited by so many cultures throughout its history has allowed the island to find many treasures from different times and civilizations, and the majority are preserved and exhibited in the capital´s Archaeological Museum. Visiting this museum is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of Rhodes since its most remote times, and at the same time, be able to assimilate the influence left by all the people who inhabited it.
The construction itself is a real wonder, as beautiful as it is sober. It is a medieval building whose facade is made up of eight arches and has as its sole ornament an elegant coat of arms on the Gothic portico at the entrance. Such is the austerity that this facade has, which makes it very elegant and even a little enigmatic...The building was erected in the 15th century, making it one of the oldest in the city. Its initial function as a hospital continued during the first centuries of the Ottoman occupation, but over time it was converted into a military barracks.
At the beginning of the 20th century, it was restored by the Italian administration to host archaeological exhibitions, but during World War II it suffered so much damage that it needed reconstruction. Since the completion of these works, it houses the headquarters of the Archaeological Institute.What treasures will we find in this museum? One of its main jewels is the architecture of the building itself, formed by vaulted rooms joined by elegant courtyards surrounded by columns.
In the different rooms,we will find beautiful mosaics, coats of arms of the Knights of the Crusades and numerous Greek and Roman archaeological finds, such as ceramic pieces, votive figures, or small metal objects.In addition to all this, in this museum there are three jewels that make your visit unforgettable. The most impressive is formed by mountains of cannonballs, which are real and which are part of the museum´s decoration. The second jewel of the museum is in the upper gallery of the building, where an impressive set of funerary monuments awaits us, such as altars or wakes, from different necropolises on the island.
But let´s get to know the real “jewel in the crown” of this museum... Within the magnificent collection of Hellenistic and Roman sculptures, which are preserved in this museum, there is a beautiful statue representing Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love, who is crouched down and combing her long hair with her hands. It´s not very big, but we guarantee it´s impressive.Be sure to visit the Archaeological
Museum of Rhodes, a treasure as sober on the outside as it is dynamic on the inside...
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes (former Knights Hospital)Akti Sachtouri 8
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
THE ROUTE OF THE KNIGHTS
The tour we propose in Rhodes is dedicated to a very legendary moment from its history. It is a short route, which runs through areas frequented by the Crusaders. Prepare all your senses well because this walk, lasting about 20 minutes, is a beautiful immersion in history.We will begin the tour at one of the most important monuments in Rhodes, the Palace of the Grand Master of Knights.This wonderful building that we enjoy today is a reconstruction of a primitive and original castle, built in the 14th century by the Knights of the Order of Saint John,on the ruins of an ancient Byzantine fortress and which was the residence of the Grand Master of the Order.Unfortunately, this original castle was destroyed in 1856 by an ammunition explosion in the Ottoman era.
But at the beginning of the 20th century, during the period of Italian occupation, it was completely rebuilt as a holiday residence for the Italian monarch Emmanuel III and, later, for the dictator Benito Mussolini. Today, its interior houses a museum dedicated to the island´s history, and you can also visit a set of austere rooms and the rooms of the Grand Master, with their magnificent mosaic floor.From a treasure in the form of a palace, we move on to another treasure in the form of a street, which isthe Ippoton, which begins at the Palace of the Grand Master, in other words, Knights Street, the most important and famous street in the Old City of Rhodes.
This cobblestone street is considered the best-preserved medieval street in all of Europe. Its 300 meters in length are crossed by a beautiful cobblestone promenade that accompanies, throughout its length, straight stone facades.The narrow and stony Knights Street is a gothic feast of beautiful, stamped buildings that were the meeting points of the Knights of the Order of St. John during the period when the brotherhood dominated Rhodes. This order was composed of members who spoke different languages ??because they came from different kingdoms, therefore, to host these knights and facilitate their meetings, each language had its inn.
That´s how this street began to host the inns of the kingdoms of England, France, Germany, Italy, Castile, Aragon, Auvergne and Provence. Today, four of them are preserved, the inn of France being the most beautiful of all and the great jewel of Ippoton.On the Knights Street,we find other buildings used by the Order of St. John, such as some chapels or the former Knights Hospital, where Crusaders and pilgrims that needed care were treated. The sober building, located at the end of Ippoton, currently houses the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, another jewel of which we will continue to talk about…
We hope you enjoy this gentlemanly ride!
Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
Rhodes 851 00, Greece Knights Street (Odos Ippoton)
Rhodes 851 00, Greece Archaeological Museum of Rhodes (former Hospital of the Knights)Akti Sachtouri 8
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
A PLACE TO REFLECT
After visiting the extensive Old City of Rhodes, we will need to take a break in a nice and cool place. The Old Cityis precisely the ideal place to recover your strength or even to sit in the cool shade of a tree or on one of its cosy balconies. This place is theSquare of the Jewish Martyrs, a pleasant square with a striking name that deserves to be explained...The Jews have inhabited Rhodes since time immemorial, a fact that we know thanks to the numerous references mentioned in very ancient writings about this Jewish presence in Rhodes since the 2ndcentury. The first Jews who inhabited the Greek lands lived fully integrated, and even spoke the Greek language.
But over time, changes were coming to this community.From the 14th century and during the rule of the Knights of St. John, the Jewish community of Rhodes established itself in the southeaster part of the Old City and remained in this area until the 20th century. When the year 1500 arrived, Grand Master D´Aubusson expelled all Jews who did not want to convert to Christianity, so that for a few years the Jewish quarter of Rhodes was almost uninhabited. But a few years later, in 1522, the Turk Suleiman the Magnificent wanted to repopulate the Jewish quarter of Rhodes, so he invited the Jews scattered throughout the Ottoman Empire to settle there.
Among the Jews who agreed to come were a multitude of Sephardic Jews who took refuge in the Ottoman Empire after being expelled from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon in 1492. These "Spanish Jews" brought their Spanish customs and even their own language to Rhodes, the "Jewish-Spanish".But the terrible 20th century has arrived for the Jews... The century began with the exodus of many young Jews who emigrated in search of new opportunities and fleeing from the racial politics of Fascist Italy that had occupied the Dodecanese since 1912. But the great catastrophe arrived in 1943, when Rhodes was occupied by the Germans. A total of 1,673 Jews from Rhodes were arrested and deported to Auschwitz, the terrible Nazi concentration camp in Poland.
Of which only 151 survived the extermination. After the end of World War II, Rhodes was finally ceded to Greece in 1948.Currently, there are few Jews who inhabit Rhodes, but they are well remembered in the Square of the Jewish Martyrs (Greek: Evreon Martyron). A pleasant square located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter of Rhodes that has a beautiful fountain decorated with three seahorses and houses the “Holocaust Memorial”,which honours the Jewish victims of extermination.
This square has some leafy trees, whose crowns come together in the air, forming a gigantic “green umbrella”, ideal to provide us with a fresh rest, in which, of course, there will be some reflection after knowing this sad story.
Square of the Jewish Martyrs (Evreon Martyron)
Rhodes 851 00, Greece
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