On Sunday we visited Rhodes Old Town which is still completely surrounded by medieval walls.Our hotel is located at the very tip of the peninsula with the winds and rough waters on one side and the calm and smooth waters on the other. So far there has not been much difference between the two sides. We walked into town by the port on the calm side passing a lighthouse and three windmills along the way.At one time a moat surrounded much of the city. Today it is a garden with a walking path. The city wall is on the right and the shorter moat wall is on the left. There are ten (or twelve depending on who you believe) gates through which you can enter the city.Most of the streets had a very medieval feel to them.This building had gargoyles to drain the rooftop.The main attraction in Rhodes is the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. It has a history nearly as long as its name. The Palace was originally built in the late 7th century as a Byzantine temple. According to Wikipedia, it is now believed to have been built on the site of the ancient temple to the sun god “Helios” and that is most likely where the Colossus of Rhodes (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) was located. After the Knights Hospitallers occupied Rhodes in 1309, they converted it into their administrative center and the Palace of their grand master. The Palace was damaged in the earthquake of 1481 and repaired soon after. The Ottomans captured the island in 1522 and converted the palace into a fortress. Much of the lower Palace was destroyed by an ammunition explosion in 1856.
According to Wikipedia, during the Italian rule of Rhodes, the Italian architect Vittorio Mesturino restored the damaged parts of the palace between 1937 and 1940. It became a holiday residence for the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, and later for Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini whose name can still be seen on a large plaque near the entrance. The guards at the site had a different spin saying that the building was remodeled for Mussolini, but was never occupied by him since Victor Emmanuel took it over. In either case, the Italians added some nice mosaics and decorations to the second floor.This is the main courtyard of the Palace.Columns, arches, and mosaics filled the primary rooms of the second floor.This shows you the detail of the mosaics.Many of the smaller rooms had furniture and elaborately painted walls.They even had several beautiful Murano glass chandeliers.After the Palace we wandered down the main shopping street where this colorful collection of purses caught my eye.Whatever they were filming here, they had a nice backdrop – but there was a nice backdrop almost anywhere you would choose to film.The town was filled with old churches…old mosques…and gates to the town.This is the ruins of a cathedral built in the 14th century. The round disks show where the pillars used to be.Our last stop of the day was the Archaeological Museum which was housed in a former hospital. The best features were the building and the mosaic floors.it also featured several mosaic pictures, On Monday, our last day in Rhodes, we are going to explore the residential area of the old town and the beaches.