A permanent monument to the times at the Knights, it dominates the modern buildings; a living testimony to the history and culture of the island.
The medieval town Rhodes is a thriving community in which approximately 6,000 people live and work. it is considered one of the most well-preserved, medieval towns anywhere in the world.
Wandering within it, with its characteristic and imposing l5th century buildings with their blazans and magnificent front doors, the narrow, stonepaved lanes with arcades, arches and old lamps, the embossed decorations and the old churches, all these features excite the visitor and transpose him or her back over the centuries. The walls surrounding the Medieval Town are approximately 4km long, and contain special examples of fortification techniques, designed to augment the defences of the town.
To enter the Old Town you pass through impressive gates. The greatest is the Marine Gateon the East side of the Medieval Town facing the main harbour of the island. Other interesting gates are the Saint Antonios gate, the d’ Amboise gate and the Eleftherias Gate.
The Old Town is divided by a wall into two unequal parts, according to the defence architecture of the time the Collachium to the north, and Chora to the south. The Collachium contained the Palace of the Grand Masters the Castello), and the domestic and offial quarters of the Knights, as well as their most importont churches. Chora was inhabited by townspeople, mode up of local Greeks and visitors from many
The Grand Masters’ Palace is a rectangular building (80 m. x 75 m.) built around a courtyard at the highest, northwestern part of the medieval town. lt was the final place of shelter for the population in case of enemy occupation. lt was the administrative centre and local point for the Knights. On the north side at the
tor the Knights. On the north side of the building is the main gate, framed by two imposing keeps. The north side, too, has underground storerooms that would have probably provided a final refuge for the populace. On the first floor at the palace were various official rooms, such as the Council Room, the retectory, and the private accommodation of the Grand Master. During the period of Turkish occupation, the palace was used as a prison. The Italians put it to similar use before deciding to restore it, more or less as we see it today.
Leaving the Palace, on the left, we walk down lppoton Street the celebrated Street of Knights the main route to the castle. It is 200 m. long, 6m. wide, and considered the best preserved medieval road in Europe, with its unaltered and authentic characteristics.
At the bottom of the Street of Knights is medieval town. It was built before the end at the llth century. Until T309, when the island was occupied by the Order of the Knights, it was the Byzantine cathedral of Rhodes. The Knights transformed it to a Latin cathedral. When the island was later occupied by the Turks, the church became a mosque. Today The Lady of the Castle houses an important collection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art.
In the square, just after The Lady of the Castle, is the memorable hospital building of the Knights, begun in l440. Now it forms the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, in which are displayed the finds from ancient, Hellenistic, and Roman times. These finds come from all over Rhodes and the surrounding islands.
Important exhibits include the kneeling Aphrodite (Venus) of Rhodes. An interesting buiiding near the Grand Masters’ Palace is the Clock Tower. it was built in 1857 on the site of the Palaces’ medieval tower. From the Clock Tower, the highest viewpoint in the Old Town, the visitor hos s[ectoculor views.
There are many other buildings that contribute to the unique character of the complete list the maior ones to see include: The Inn of the Knights of the Auvergne, the Arsenal, the Museum of Decorative Arts, Suleyman’s Mosque, the Castellania (which today houses a public library), the Hospice of St Catherine, and