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+30 2241029222 info@rhodesexperience.com

Discover the Culture and Medieval History of Rhodes

Rhodes is one of the most historic and attractive islands to visit in Greece. Every year it attracts more than 2 million visitors, all looking to take in the romantic landscape, experience the local culture, food and wine and explore its medieval history.

Archaeological digs on the island show that there were communities here as far back as 5,000 years ago. Rhodes benefited over the years from its strategic location for trade between Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean which made it a big prize for invaders.

It was such an important location that the Romans took control of it in the 2nd Century BC and in Medieval times the Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied the city of Rhodes before it came under Turkish and then Italian rule right up to the beginning of the 20th century.

Some of the most amazing architecture in Rhodes came about during the occupation of the Knights of the Order of St John and the Old Town where they set up home remains one of the main tourist attractions on the island.

Medieval Rhodes

You’ll find the Old Town within a 4km long wall and it comprises the high town in the north and the lower town to the south-west. Unlike many historic sites, the Medieval Rhodes is a thriving community with about 6,000 inhabitants, many living and working in the same buildings that were occupied by the knights in medieval times.

With almost 200 streets to explore, there’s plenty to see and do whether you’re on a formal tour or making your way under your own steam. There are hundreds of small shops, markets, cafes, bars and restaurants as well as sites of historic interest such as the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights.

Jewish Quarter

An area that contains narrow streets and boasts the oldest synagogue in Greece, the Jewish Quarter is steeped in history. The Square of the Martyred Jews lies at the heart of the quarter and is a reminder of the travesties of World War II where 1,673 members of the community were arrested and deported to Auschwitz.

The Kahal Shalom is the only remaining synagogue in Rhodes that is still used for services and is also where you’ll find the Rhodes Jewish Museum.

Ippokratous Square

Near the castle walls, Platia Ippokratous is full of atmosphere and certainly one place that you’ll want to visit during your time in Rhodes.
From the ornamental fountain in the centre of the square to the surrounding shops, bars and cafes, it’s a great place to spend the afternoon or an early evening soiree.

You’ll get a friendly welcome with a brilliant atmosphere which is why this is one of the most popular spots during the early evening.

Street of the Knights

Another place you’ll not want to miss out on is Odós Ippotón or the Street of the Knights. It’s noted for being very straight and originally ended at the Acropolis a few kilometres away. You’ll find seven doors for what were once inns, created to denote the seven different countries the Knights of the Order of St John came from.

If you want to be transported to Medieval times and imagine what it was like to be in Rhodes at the time, this is the perfect location.

Grand Master Palace

The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, to give the full name, is a medieval castle that was built on the site of an ancient temple towards the end of the 7th century.

It fell into disrepair after the Turkish occupation but was restored by Italian architects in the late 1930s and it remains one of the true architectural beauties of the Western world with amazing sculptures and mosaics, all overlooking Rhodes Old Town.

Archaeological Museum and Fortifications of the Palace

Of particular interest in this part of the city are the museum and the fortifications of the Grand Master Palace. The museum is housed in the old hospital that was built by the Knights of the Order of St John and contains archaeological treasures from various digs around Rhodes which bring this ancient world to life.

The fortifications give a birds’ eye view of the old town below and the blue Aegean Sea in the distance and are perfect for an early evening stroll.

Where to find a Medieval Town tour

There’s so much to do and see in Rhodes Old Town that booking onto a tour is always a good idea.

At MBC Travel, we offer these to small groups of up to nine people and our friendly guides will give you the full tour of this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s not just about the architecture and the museums. Rhodes Old Town is a thriving community with plenty of atmosphere. There is always something going on all through the day especially during the Medieval Festival that takes place in May and June.

Find out more about our Jewish Quarter & Medieval Rhodes Tour here.

About the author

Daffy is the co-founder of Rhodes Experiences. He enjoys traveling, photography and writing about the Greek tourism industry, as well as Rhodes island, which he calls home.
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Rhodes Experience Blog

Stay up to date with news from our beautiful island of Rhodes, discover things to do in Rhodes. Contributors include, Rhodes Experience founders, Daffy & Litsa, and guest writers, local experts and our knowledgable guides!

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