Inside Rhodes Old Town
Inside Rhodes Old Town
A visit to the old town of Rhodes is like a visit to a living, breathing museum. The oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe, visitors and locals alike can walk the same streets that the Knights of St. John travelled six centuries ago. Fortress-like walls, ancient antiques and thriving local markets – with so much to see, one trip can barely do the town justice. However, if you are visiting this Greek Island gem year, here’s our pick of the standout sights you should fit in on your Rhodes trip…
Plateia Simi through Eleftheira Gate
There are many gates to enter the old town, but entering through the Eleftheira Gate is a great introduction to the city, declared a World Heritage Site for its historic status and beauty. After entering, you will arrive at Plateia Simi (Simi square), where the ruins of the Temple of Venus are located.
While the majesty of the ruins has somewhat diminished over the many hundreds of years, it’s still a great introduction into the city, contrasting the old and the new. Simi Square is also bursting full with landmarks like the Temple of Venus and museums like the Municipal Art Gallery of Rhodes. Head to the Museum of Decorative Arts, for an insight into local craftsmanship through the ages.
Avenue of the Knights
The real draw to this square is the Avenue of the Knights, or Ippoton on most maps. This 600m-long cobbled road is one of the best preserved medieval relics in the world. It was constructed to form a path from the Acropolis of Rhodes to the port, and served as the lodging-place of the Knights of St. John. The seven ‘Inns of the Tongues’ found here represent the nationalities of the original knights, complete with coats of arms inscribed above the doorways.
In the same northern portion of Rhodes Old Town lies the Palace of the Grand Master. This is the most striking building in the old town, with thick sandstone walls soaring right into the sky. A tour through the castle takes around an hour and if you want a dizzying view of the city, a small admission fee gives you access to the clock tower next to the castle.
Winding your way down south, you’ll come across Hora. This section of the old town was where the common folk lived, so instead of vast buildings you’ll find a heritage of vernacular culture and tradition, much of which is still alive today.
Historically, Rhodes has a strong connection with Turkey and evidence of this is everywhere to be seen in Hora, with the Turkish bazaar, Suleiman’s mosque and Platia Arionos Turkish Baths providing a glimpse of the ancient Ottoman Empire. The market on Socrates Street and the Jewish Quarter are great places to poke around for unusual souvenirs and rich-looking furnishings.
Keep in mind that many of the streets are not name or marked. It’s a place that is begging to get lost in, a town for wandering souls. If you do need to get your bearings, just ask for Sokratus, the closest thing there is to a main street. Otherwise, simply explore the old town like the ancients did.
To arrange your trip back in time, take a look at Falcon’s latest deals on Rhodes on our main site. Alternatively, if you’re more of a clubber than a history buff, check out the wilder side to Rhodes around the resort of Faliraki and Laganas!