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Rhodes

From the entrance at the port, one cannot fail to admire the magnificent medieval walls that are pierced by seven majestic gates surrounding the old town of Rhodes, whose blond stone shines under a radiant sun that, at least we were told, shines year-round... or nearly.

This Greek island, the largest of the Dodecanese islands, has a medieval character and radiates a special charm that is a result of its founders, the Knights of the Order of Saint John, who established the seat of their order there in the 1300s.

They fortified the city with impressive walls that can still be admired. They would maintain the island for more than two centuries, until 1522, when the Turkish Suleiman the Magnificent seized it after a siege of five months. The Knights then settled in Malta (our other article) at the invitation of Charles V.

In the lower part of the city of Rhodes, they built the Palace of the Grand Masters, a castle that in a way became a museum of history and served for a time as a summer residence for Mussolini. They also built "inns", residences organized by language and welcoming members of their order who came from the West.

The Old Town

The vast majority of these "inns", imposing buildings with multiple gargoyles where the coat of arms of the Knights are displayed, line up along the rue des Chevaliers, the main artery of the city with old stone pavement.

The shopping streets are home to many small shops and workshops of artists and craftsmen, and the many squares and placettes are animated with nice and welcoming cafes.

On the main shopping street, Sokratous Street, the bell tower of a beautiful church rivals the minaret of the pretty neighbouring Suleymaniye Mosque.

Lindos: the Pearl

The village of Lindos and its acropolis, forty minutes from Rhodes, is undoubtedly the site that is not to be missed on the island.

Well preserved, this village contains many treasures that date from the 17th century: palaces, a Byzantine church, a Roman theater and some monumental tombs of influential families of the time.

The all-white village, with its amphitheater terraces, lively streets, coves with turquoise waters and numerous and welcoming beaches, is a splendor. We swam in a beautiful little cove in somewhat crisp waters for the month of April, though it was very pleasant.

What distinguishes Lindos is the steep rock of the Acropolis, which is 116 m high, and dominates the village. Here, the temple of Athena was built in the 6th century BC. Traces even suggest that this place was a center of worship that dates back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age (4th millennium BC to 2nd millennium BC).

The acropolis is protected by a set of fortifications completed by the Knights in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and was used as a fortress. The surrounding wall still borders it all.

A steep path, the same one that was used in antiquity, reaches it. Be careful, you will need to remember that you have to climb up 116 m on a steep path where the added stones can be slippery. Plan to bring water and take your time. But it's worth it! As much for the archaeological site as for the breathtaking view it offers.


Christiane Théberge
 

Entrance at the port

Palace of the Grand Masters

Rue des Chevaliers

Temple of Athena on the Acropolis in Lindos

 

   

 

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