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. City Guide

Rhodes City contains many sights worth exploring. The medieval city is still very much alive. 6,000 people live and work in the same buildings in which the Knights of St. John lived six centuries ago; as a living monument to the past it must be nearly unique in Europe, if not the world.

The Old Town continues today to be divided into the two parts which made it up in the time of the Knights: the northern part, which was the internal fortress of the Knights, known as the Castello, and which contained the official buildings; and the larger southern part, called the Chora, where the Greeks, the Europeans who were not members of the Order and the Jews lived. These two parts of the town were separated by a wall running approximately parallel to the line of Sokratous street, the old Bazaar. Coming up from Mandraki Harbor, we enter through the Gate of Freedom (Pili Eleftherias), in Simi sq. The Gate was opened in 1924 by the Italians, who looked on themselves as liberators of the island from the Turks.

rhodes castle rhodes harbour

Immediately opposite are the ruins of a Temple of Aphrodite, dating from the 3rd century BC, one of the few ancient remains to be found in the Old Town. Behind the temple is the Inn of the Tongue of Auvergue, built in 1507. Note the outside staircase leading up the front of the building which is a purely Aegean architectural feature, owing nothing to Western influence. The Inn is used today as government offices.

To the left, Arsenal Gate leads to the commercial port. Simi sq. is also known as Arsenal sq., as it was believed that the Knights had shipyards there (the word "arsenal" is derived from the Arabic word for a shipyard). The building on the right houses the Ionian and Popular Bank on the ground floor and the Municipal Art Gallery upstairs. From here the street climbs slightly to Argyrokastrou sq., a pretty spot with a fine fountain in its center. Its base, which is an early Christian font, was found by Italian archaeologists in the church of St. Irene near the village of Arnitha. The pile of cannonballs near the fountain, and the other piles to be seen here and there in the Old Town, were collected for the defense of Rhodes during the Turkish siege of 1522. Argyrokastrou sq. also boasts one of the oldest buildings in the Castle - the Armeria, built in the 14th century, probably by Grand Master Roger de Pias, whose escutcheon can be seen on the left hand side of the building. Its similarities to the Hospital of the Knights (now the Museum) lead scholars to believe that this was the first building used as a Hospital. Later, it was used by the Turks as an armory (armeria). To the left as we look at the Armeria, which today houses the Institute of History and Archaeology, is the Museum of Folk Art.

Airport: Rhodes is well served by direct charter flights and in the height of the season as many as 75 charters arrive daily. The international airport Diagoras (RHO) is one of the best in Greece. It lies 16 km away from the city, on the West Coast near the village Paradissi. In the high season which is June to September, you may expect regular flights to and from: Athens, (several flights every day) Heraklion/Crete, (3 times a week) Santorini, (5 times a week) Mykonos, (2 times a week) Karpathos, (every day) Kastellorizo, (every day) and Kassos (5 times a week). Outside the high season, flights are not so frequent.

Beaches: The beaches of Rhodes are perhaps its major attractions. You may sunbathe free, but you will have to pay if you rent a sun bed and a sunshade. The beaches on the East Coast are better for swimming, sea sports and for little children, because there is less wind. On the West Coast, there is strong wind during the summer months and this makes sea sports and swimming more difficult. For more information, see the pages about the beaches of Rhodes.

Bicycles: Bicycles are available all over the island at very low prices. If you would like to join organised groups that do mountain biking, or want to tour the entire island, there is a company called Hellas Bike Travel with a branch office in Faliraki that has high end equipment and special guides for touring.

Eating: The tavern is the typical Greek eating-place. There you can eat Greek specialities. Very good taverns are to be found in the villages, (for example in Koskinou, Psinthos, Embona, Lardos and Laerma).