The Medieval City of Rhodes is one of the best preserved Middle Ages citadels in the world. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

                                    Imposing View of the Citadel from the Sea
When the Order of St. John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes in 1309, they set about fortifying the city. The whole Citadel consisted of the Upper Town and the Lower Town. Most famous buildings in the Upper Town include the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Street of the Knights, the Great Hospital, just to name a few.  Built in the Gothic style, these buildings radiate an alluring, mystic charm, especially in the evenings. 

                One of the original tower gates of the Old City, near the Commercial Harbour

Majestic Side View of the Rampart and Fortification near the Palace of the Grand Masters

          Streets of the Knights leading to the entrance to the Palace of the Grand Masters

While the Upper Town is solemn in style, the Lower Town is bustling and full of life, especially in the night. When Rhodes came under Turkish Ottoman rule in 1523, Rhodes and Kos were the only two islands in the Dodecanese Group on which Turkish immigrants were allowed to settle. The architectural style in the Lower Town is thus an interesting mix of Gothic and Turkish Ottoman designs. Grand Gothic mansions exists alongside mosques, minarets, Turkish public bath houses, and Ottoman courtyards with orange blossom and beautiful Iznik tiles.

The Old Town also has a touch of Italian flaire, because Rhodes and other Dodecanese Islands were occupied by Italy for a long spell during the early 20th century. The major square of the Lower Town resembles a miniature Palermo in the evening:

Just like in Italy, where social life revolves around the village square, the main square of the Lower Town is the focus of social life on Rhodes. Cafes, shops and bars congregate around this part of the Lower Town. In the summer, the streets within the Old Town could get terribly crowded, to such an extent that it was almost impossible to walk around.
Some people thought the Lower Town of Rhodes is becoming excessively touristic. In recent years, it has become very expensive to dine out in the Old Town, especially after the introduction of euro, as prices  in Greece almost tripled within a short period of time.

   A fine example of Ottoman architecture standing side by side with classical Gothic buildings.

If you can afford it, it is a good way to spend a great night out at one of the rooftop restaurants or terrace cafes overlooking the square and enjoy the beat of Greek popular music. The fun gets better when it gets darker outside......

How to go:
BY AIR: Nearest Airport is Rhodes Diagoras Airport, 15km outside of Rhodes Town. There are daily direct flights from Athens.
Olympic Airways flies from Rhodes to Sitia, Crete, stopping en route at Kasos and Karpathos.

Skyexpress ( operates direct flight from Rhodes to Heraklion, Crete, all year round.
In the summer, Skyexpress also operates non-stop flight from Rhodes to Santorini and Mykonos.

Between May and October, several charter airlines operate direct flights from major European airports to Rhodes.

BY FERRY: Bluestar Ferries operate regular service between Piraeus and Rhodes all year round.
                 L.A.N.E. Lines also provides ferry service Rhodes - Sitia (Crete) - Santorini
              Dodekanisos Seaways operate daily catamaran service (except Monday) between Rhodes and the Dodecanese islands of Symi, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Lipsi and Patmos.
                 Dodekanisos Seaways operate catamaran service between Rhodes and Kastelorizo every Monday.
From Marmaris, Turkey, there are daily catamaran service between May and October to Rhodes. Departure is at 0900. Price is about 55 euro per person one way, including port taxes. In the winter, 2-3 services per week, weather permitting.
From Fethiye, Turkey, there are 2-3 hydrofoil service to Rhodes between May and October.
From Bodrum, Turkey, Bodrum Express Lines operate direct hydrofoil service to Rhodes every Monday and Friday, departure at 0800. Price is 60 euro one way per person.

Copyright 2008. All text and photos by YC Cheng. All Rights Reserved. 
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