The ancient island city of Rhodes is one of the Dodeconese island group, which are amongst the 3000 odd islands that surround Greece.  These islands extend over the coast of western Turkey surrounded by the Aegean and the Mediterranean sea.  It is closer to Turkey, which can be seen easily across the sea, than to mainland Greece.  

They have been autonomous part of the Greek Empire and reached their pomp as island states during the Byzantine era.

Christianity made its advent in Greece through these islands first and they were invaded by various forces like the Ottoman Turks, the Italians over their period of existence.  During the 14th Century, the crusaders arrived.  These were the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who eventually became rulers of most of the Dodecanse.  They built huge walls and fortifications which still exist in Rhodes.  

The old town of Rhodes is a medieval citadel surrounded by moats and 2.5 miles of walls.  There are eleven gates in this walled city which is a World Heritage Site. Inside the walls is a labyrinth of cobbled streets and squares in the midst of a jumble of Byzantine, Turkish and Latin architecture. Shown above is the Marina Gate, one of the most popular gates which opens out onto the Mandraki harbour.

One of the most famous sights in the old town is the medieval Street of the Knights (Odos Ippoton), which is lined by the Inns of the Tongues or nationalities of the Order of St. John.  The modern day St. John’s Ambulance is a legacy of this Order.  A Grand Master was elected to govern the Order, which is divided into seven Tongues: France, Italy, England, Germany, Provence, Spain and Auvergne.  

Built in Gothic style in the 14th century, the Inns were meeting places for the Knights of a given Tongue.  The street leads up to the Palace of the Grand Masters in the Knights Quarter, a square fortified structure with an central courtyard opening into corridors with vaulted stone ceilings.

Mandraki Harbour in Rhodes

The Mandraki harbour is the link between the medieval old town and the more modern new town of Rhodes and is lined with yachts and tourist boats for excursions to nearby islands.  There are ruins of a 15th century fortress along with three elegant medieval windmills.

Lindos village is on the island of Rhodes and is the warmest place in the island.  The village has winding cobbled lanes which are lined with traditional houses, tourist shops and restaurants. It is exceedingly charming and fairly steep.  The harbour and beach are also very beautiful to behold.  In the centre of the village surrounded by white washed houses, is the Byzantine church of Panagia, complete with a bell tower next to it.  The interior of this Greek Orthodox church is very sumptuous and lined with frescoes with gold coloured ornamentation.  

Perched on a sheer cliff 125 metres above the village, is the Acropolis of Lindos, which is the 4th century Temple of Athena.  Legend has it that both Alexander the Great and Helen of Troy visited this temple.  The acroplis is quite huge and has plenty of ruins which are being slowly restored to its former glory. The panoramic views of the village and the harbour below are also breathtaking.  

  • At the banquet in Kalithea springs, as the sun sets taken by the boss.
  • On top of the acropolis at Lindos overlooking the harbour and village below
  • At the Hippocampus (sea horse) fountain in old town
  • The giant cross at Mount Filerimos

Ancient Kameiros was a thriving city during 5th century BC, which was home to around 400 families.  It was destroyed in a large earthquake in 142 BC and subsequently abandoned.  However, it was well preserved in the rubble and vegetation and discovered in 1859. The backdrop of this city at the top of the mountain is the blue Aegean sea and the Turkish islands.  

There are remains of a 3rd century BC (Hellenic period - Alexander the Great) temple with Doric columns, an altar to Helios (sun), public baths and evidence of proper plumbing.

The location is stunning and the ruins are slowly being restored. Very impressive.

My favourite photo from the entire trip-  A fan of Cypress (?) against the backdrop of the Aegean sea with the elaborate ruins of Ancient Kameiros in the foreground.  The sky was nearly as blue as the sea.  

The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nektarios which is elaborately decorated with wall and ceiling frescoes.

Christian Icons in the church in Mount Filerimos

Some of the fauna, both wild and adapted we encountered in our trip.

  • A gecko carrying its young scampering across the ruins in Ancient Kameiros
  • The poor donkeys used to carry people up and down the Acropolis in Lindos
  • Peacocks waiting to be fed by tourist in Mount Filerimos
  • The stray cats of Rhodes in varying degrees of health
  • Mountain goats on the side of the road
  • Parrots used to attract tourists into eating establishments in the streets of old town Rhodes

the expressive doorbells of venice

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