Rhodes Old Town
The Old Town in Rhodes is one of the oldest continually populated medieval towns in Europe. Discover Byzantine relics, Ottoman mosques and Venetian architecture and learn about the history as you explore the fascinating ruins.
The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as the Order of the Knights of St. John, was founded during the years of the Crusades. By the early 14th century, they were one of the strongest military organizations in Christian Europe. Between 1309 and 1523, they governed Rhodes and converted the city into a fortified town.
Enter the Old Town through the Eleftheria Gate to the Plateia Simi (Simi Square). Discover many museums in this part of town, including the Folk Art Museum and the Archaeological Museum, which is housed in the Great Hospital. Walk along the winding alleyways to the pedestrian-only Street of the Knights. This beautifully preserved street is where the knights once resided. Framed by tall walls, with knights’ inns and family houses, the street still looks much like it would have in the 14th century.
Near the Knights’ Quarters is the striking Palace of the Grand Masters. The palace, which was the administrative headquarters for the order in the early 14th century, is one of the most impressive structures in Rhodes. It now houses the Byzantine Museum. Enter to browse displays containing medieval relics, sculptures, antique furniture and mosaic floors.
Visit what is believed to be the site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Located near the harbor, this monument honored the Rhodian victory in the battle of Demetrius the Besieger in 305 B.C.. This colossal statue took 12 years to complete and is thought to have been approximately 100 feet (30 meters) high.
Shop for souvenirs on Sokratous Street and stop for a coffee on the café-lined Ippokratous Square where the Castellania Fountain, the Chadrevan Mosque and the Palace of the Castellan are located. After a day of sightseeing, relax in a Turkish hammam at the Platia Arionos.
Medieval fortified walls enclose the Old Town of Rhodes. It is pedestrian-only and many of the lanes are unmarked, so be prepared to lose yourself in the winding cobbled streets. To get here, take a taxi or catch a local bus.