The Dodecanes Islands are located 11 miles southwest of Turkey, in the eastern Aegean Sea. Rhodes is the largest of the islands and is located in the same body of water. It is one of the sunniest European locations. The Greek island of Santorini is a popular destination for sun lovers due to its 300 days of sunshine every year. Additionally, it is a popular port for cruise ships traveling between the Greek Islands.
Rhodes has been inhabited since the Stone Age. However, its most memorable time period was 407 B.C., when three different cities on the island (Kimiros, Lindos, and Ialyssos) merged to become the new city of Rhodes. The Colossus of Rhodes stood guard over the harbor of ancient Rhodes; it was a 110-foot bronze statue sculpted by the Greek master Hares. According to legend, it was toppled by an earthquake in 226 B.C. The Greed god Helios is also believed to have been destroyed during this era.
In the port of Mandraki Harbor, visitors can find fishing boats and luxurious yachts. People also frequent nearby cafes and view the modern symbols of Rhodes in the form of male and female deer. The harbor is located on the coast near trendy restaurants.
The island is full of things to see and do; it has something for everyone. There are clear blue beaches where visitors can rest and enjoy the ocean. The island is also home to a modern cosmopolitan city with lots to do— from shopping to dining out and cultural attractions. Additionally, the island has many historical sites for visitors to explore, including ancient and medieval monuments.
In 1309, the Knights of St. John founded a walled city in Europe’s oldest inhabited medieval town. The Old Town is where most people who visit the island end up making at least one trip. Old Town Rhodes is a fascinating living museum with plenty of charm. If you spend a day exploring the town, you won’t be disappointed.
I recommend exploring Old Town Rhodes by taking several positive actions.
To fully explore this secluded island, walk through one of the open gates. Head through the Liberty, Marine or St Catherine’s gate on the ocean side, while Amboise gate is accessed on the side and back of the island. As an added note, several more gates provide easy access to the island.
Saint George Gate was closed in 1480 and turned into a fortress by the Grand Master. There are actually 11 gates to the town, some modern and some ancient. Some open gates are closed.
The Italians built the Liberty Gate in 1924. It houses many windows allowing views of the sea and photos outside. The gate reflects some of the ancient Greek style with its architecture. It’s close to the Archaeological Museum and allows a glimpse of the ruins of Aphrodite’s Temple. Passing through the grandmaster’s palace gates is easy. Many different businesses, restaurants and cafes line the street they lead to.
The Archaeological Museum houses exhibits of art and sculpture from different periods of Rhode Island history. These exhibits include art and sculptures from the time of the Knights. My personal favorite attraction at this museum is the building itself. This is because it’s one of few museums in the world that I consider truly impressive.
The Knights of St. John once operated out of a hospital housed in an impressive building. Visitors to the Archaeological Museum can access it through the main entrance on the east side of the building. A large courtyard with vaulted porticoes surrounds this area.
Along one side of the courtyard is a grand staircase that leads up to an open timber-roofed platform. Several exhibition rooms flank the wings of the building, which house fine artifacts and sculptures from Rhodes and nearby islands. Museum admission costs three euros each day it’s open past 7:40.
A short stroll through the Museum leads to the St. John’s Hospital and its resident knights. This medieval thoroughfare consists of the accommodation of the Knights of St. John. Each door features a plaque or coat of arms indicating which country the knight came from. People can also confirm their heritage by looking at the exterior design of the building.
Walking down the narrow streets and alleys of Rhodes’ Old Town is one of my favorite pastimes. The area is home to three main attractions, but you don’t have to view them if you don’t want to. This allows people to meander through the town for hours without seeing any of the sights.
I prefer to avoid the main streets when visiting these sights. They’re too congested and commercialized to my eye. Instead, check the posted open times at their entrances or doors. Old Town Rhodes has a living museum; it’s home to 6,000 people who work and live in the building used by the knights over 500 years ago!
On the side streets, you can meet up with the neighborhood residents and browse some of the interesting shops. Near the Marine Gate lies a small pebble beach. If you walk a bit to your right and toward St. Cathrine’s Gate, you can view this cute rock dolphin sculpture. The colossus of Rhodes once stood guard at the Mandraki Harbor. From the dolphin statue head back toward Marine Gate, then head toward the harbor.
The New Market is located next to Liberty Gate. Many of the Greek specialties on the island are served at outdoor restaurants in this area. I recommend eating at one of these restaurants if you’re feeling hungry and didn’t get a chance to try any of the island’s specialty dishes. I loved this beef souvlaki served with fries, rice and Tzatziki!
SNTTours can help you plan a Rhodes vacation of your dreams. With Nana Travel Consultants, we can plan any itinerary you can imagine. If you’re looking for a trip with your significant other, family or group of friends, come to Nana Travel Consultants!