×

8 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Rhodes Town

Rhodes Town (Ródos), founded in 408 BC, lies on the northern tip of the island of Rhodes in the Dodecanese. Its magnificent old town, a maze of narrow cobbled streets and squares, is encircled by sturdy medieval walls with domes, minarets, and palm trees rising into the skyline. Through the centuries, it has been held by the Greeks, the Knights of St. John (1309-1522), the Ottoman Turks (1522-1912), the Italians (1912-1948), and then Greece again. Today, the old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It overlooks a busy port, and cruise ships sailing the Eastern Mediterranean call here.

1 Palace of the Grand Masters

Palace of the Grand Masters
Palace of the Grand Masters
Share:

On the highest point in the old town, at the top of the Street of the Knights, the Palace of the Grand Masters is a massive stronghold defended by a triple circuit of walls. Built on the site of an older Byzantine citadel, it was constructed by the Knights of St. John (aka Knights Hospitaller), a Catholic military order, who ruled the island from 1309 to 1522. Based on a square plan centering on a large internal courtyard, it fell into disrepair after the departure of the knights but was rebuilt by the Italians in the 1930s as a holiday residence for King Emmanuel III and later for Fascist dictator Mussolini. A whimsical structure with towers and crenellated ramparts, pebble mosaic floors, antiquities, and antiques, it has more than 150 rooms, but only about 20 are open to tourists.

Address: Street of the Knights (Odós Ippotón), 85100 Ródos

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Rhodes Town - TripAdvisor.com

2 Town Walls

Town Walls
Town Walls
Share:

Starting from the Palace of the Grand Master, you can walk around the ramparts of the old town walls - one of the finest examples of medieval fortifications in the world. Initially built during the Byzantine period, they were extended and reinforced by the knights between the 14th and 16th centuries due to an obsessive fear of enemy attack. Measuring four kilometers in length, and in parts up to 12 meters thick, they include imposing towers, sturdy bastions, several magnificent gates, a dry moat, and artillery firing posts. However, in 1522, after a six-month siege, the knights eventually surrendered to the Ottoman Turks. Under the Turks, Christians (the majority of Greeks) were banished from the old town.

Address: Street of the Knights (Odós Ippotón), 85100 Ródos

3 Archaeological Museum (Hospital of the Knights)

Archaeological Museum (Hospital of the Knights)
Archaeological Museum (Hospital of the Knights)
Share:

As a religious military order, the knights dedicated themselves to preventing the spread of Islam and to tending the sick and the poor. They built this imposing hospital, overlooking a lovely herb-scented courtyard garden, between 1440 and 1489, and it now houses the archaeological museum. On display are various ancient finds from archaeological sites across the island, including marble statues, urns, and funerary stele, but the top attractions have to be the stunning mosaics and the first-century-BC Aphrodite of Rhodes, a white marble figure of a naked girl, who is crouching and running her fingers through her hair to dry it.

Address: Museum Square (Plateia Mouson), 85100 Ródos

4 Street of the Knights

Street of the Knights
Street of the Knights
Share:

Running from the Hospital of the Knights up to the Palace of the Grand Masters, this cobbled street, lined by stone buildings with Gothic arches, still looks much as it would have in the 15th and 16th centuries. This is where the knights had their "Inns" - the order was divided into seven "Tongues" (England, France, Germany, Italy, Aragon, Auvergne, and Provence), each with its own "Inn," where members would convene and dine.

Address: Street of the Knights (Odós Ippotón), 85100 Ródos

5 Süleyman Mosque

Süleyman Mosque
Süleyman Mosque
Share:

Built in 1522, the year the Ottoman Turks took the city, this pink-and-white mosque with an elegant minaret was built to commemorate Süleyman I's conquest of the island. The Sultan, also known as Süleyman the Magnificent, was one of the most powerful leaders in the world at the time and expanded the empire deeper into Europe and North Africa during a period that would later be recognised as the Ottomans' Golden Age. Under the Turks, most of Rhodes' numerous churches were converted into mosques.

Address: Sokrates street (Sokratous), 85100 Ródos

6 Modern Greek Art Museum

Formerly known as the Municipal Gallery, the Modern Greek Art Museum displays a fine collection of 20th-century paintings, engravings, and sculpture. The collection is dispersed over three separate buildings with one ticket valid for all. The principal art gallery is on Symis Square, in the old town; while there is also the New Art Gallery overlooking the sea, close to the aquarium, in the new town; plus the more recently opened Centre of Modern Art in the Palaio Syssitio on Sokratous, back in the old town.

Address: 2 Symis Square (Plateia Simis 2), 85100 Ródos

Official site: http://mgamuseum.gr

7 Mandraki Harbor and Commercial Harbor

Mandraki Harbor and Commercial Harbor
Mandraki Harbor and Commercial Harbor
Share:

The old Mandráki Harbor, dating from the city's founding in 408 BC, is protected by a long breakwater, lined by three disused windmills, with the 15th-century Fort St. Nicholas on its northern tip. Flanking the entrance to the harbor are two stone columns topped by bronze figures of a stag and a hind. Deer are the heraldic symbol of Rhodes and are still depicted on local ceramics such as plates, ashtrays, and tiles sold as souvenirs. In times gone by, the mythical Colossus of Rhodes (a giant third-century-BC statue of Helios, a handsome Greek god and personification of the sun) is said to have straddled the entrance to the harbor where the deer now stand. Today, the Mandráki is used by yachts and excursion boats offering day trips to the nearby islands of Symi and Halki and to Marmaris on the Turkish coast. Less interesting, the commercial harbor is the island's principal port, and is used by ferries sailing to and from Piraeus as well as cruise ships.

8 New Town

New Town
New Town
Share:

Outside the fortifications, the so-called new town was first settled by local Greeks after the Ottoman Turks banished them from the medieval center in 1522. However, it gained its present appearance in the 1930s when the Italians, under Mussolini, added the elegant Art Deco administrative buildings overlooking the Mandraki Harbor, including the town hall, post office, covered market, theater, and aquarium. Between the Mandraki Harbor and the northern tip of the island, are a string of narrow sandy beaches, with sunbeds and umbrellas for hire.

More on Greece

Destinations
popular right now
X
Check In:
Check Out:
Find a Hotel