Historical sites in Rhodes

Historical sites in Rhodes

Image © Rhodes Guide / RhodesGuide.com

Rhodes monuments, historical and archaeological sites

The first traces of life on the island of Rhodes are lost in the fog of myth. The first inhabitants are said to have been the aborigines Heliaden, agreements of the protective god Helios and the Telchines, a strange kind of people who supposedly resembled demons. These were, according to tradition, skilled sailors and skilled craftsmen who taught the ancient Rhodians how to forge and process stone.

A journey through history

Archaeological excavations revealed that in the 16th century BC the Minoans inhabited the island, followed by the Mycenaeans, who settled here in the 15th century BC. After the 8th century B.C. the first city states lalysos, Lindos and Kamiros were built, which together with Kos and the small Asian cities Knidos and Halikarnasos founded the Doric six city federation "Hexapolis". According to this, it is the first city association of the world known at that time, which had political, economic and cultural dimensions.

The prosperity and the development of the island was mainly due to the trade as it was geographically located on the ancient trade artery which connected numerous Greek cities and the way continued to Sicily, back via the Cyclades with main station the island Rhodes and further to Cyprus and Phoenicia. In the time of the Ptolemies, another very important trade route was opened for the Rhodians, which extended from Asia Minor over Rhodes and further to the Nile delta and Kirene. Very early all three city states of Rhodes (Ialyssos, Kamiros and Lindos) minted their own coins; a fact that testifies to their economic prosperity. A milestone in the history of the island was the decision of the three cities in 408 B.C. to jointly found a new powerful city at the northern tip which was able to carry the sceptre of power and prosperity for many centuries to come.

Like all other Greeks, the Rhodians fought in the war against the Persians and received the Macedonians on the island under the leadership of Alexander the Great. Due to its strategic position, Rhodes was occupied by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. Since that time, however, mainly after the 1st century B.C., Rhodes developed into an important cultural center, while its fame spread over the entire Mediterranean area.


A two-storeyd building with flat roof and an arcade looking towards the road by the sea. The walls are built in the typical, local isodomic masonry. Very interesting is the structure of the interior, visible in the plans of the building.

Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos)

The district of Ialyssos (Ialysos) encompasses the northern part of the island. It was inhabited in the prehistoric period. Remains of a Minoan settlement have been found at Trianda and Mycenaean cemeteries have been located on the surrounding hills of Makria Vounara and Moschou Vounara (1700-1400 BC).

Ancient Kamiros

Ancient Kamiros, one of the three Dorian city-states mentioned by Homer, was a significant settlement alongside Lindos and Ialyssos on the island of Rhodes. This archaeological site reveals layers of history through its well-preserved ruins, offering insights into the urban layout and daily life of its ancient inhabitants. Kamiros provides a unique window into the classical past of Rhodes, showcasing the architectural and cultural heritage of the Dorian civilization.

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is housed in the medieval building of the Hospital of the Knights. Its construction was completed in 1489 by the celebrated Grand Master d'Aubusson. It is a two-storey building, with an internal courtyard, all four sides of which are lined with porticoes.

Asklipio (Asklepieion) Medieval Fort

The castle of Asklipio (Asklepieion) was built in 1479 by Grand Master D'Aubusson at the site of an ancient lighthouse. In the Byzantine period, during the time of the Knights, the castle also offered the inhabitants of the surrounding villages protection against enemy attacks.

Elafos Hotel

The hotel is on mount Profitis Elias (Prophet Elias), near the Byzantine monastery with the same name. It comprises two buildings, a three-storeyed one, "Elafos" and a two-storeyed one, "Elafina", both with a basement and a high pitched wooden roof.

Feraclos (Feraklos) Castle

The castle of Feraclos (Feraklos) lies 150m high on a very sharp and rocky hill, on the eastern side of the island, overlooking the bays of Haraki and Agathi, opposite the coast of Asia Minor.

Filerimos Monastery & Castle

Filerimos Monastery & Castle, set atop the hill of Filerimos near the ancient town of Ialysos on Rhodes, is a significant Byzantine structure. Built during the Byzantine Era, the site is surrounded by a diverse ensemble of historic buildings and ruins spanning Byzantine, Hellenistic, and Medieval periods. Key among these are the Temples of Athena Polias and Zeus. The monastery and castle stand within a serene pine forest, encapsulating the rich historical tapestry of the region.

Governor's Palace

The former Governor's Palace, now used as the the Building of the Prefecture, It is one of the most considerable buildings constructed on Rhodes during the Italian occupation of the island. It is a combination of many different architectural styles and its arrangement strongly resembles the Palace of the Duces in Venice.

Lindos Acropolis

Lindos is a captivating destination for those seeking to explore the impressive archaeological sites on Rhodes. The town's picturesque setting blends seamlessly with the dramatic natural landscape, making it a sight to behold. The Lindos Acropolis, which stands tall at 116 meters above sea level, is a dominant feature of the area. Its grandeur and majestic fortress walls provide a breathtaking backdrop to the town below, making it an awe-inspiring sight to see and place to visit.

Mandraki Harbour

Mandraki Harbour, located on the eastern coast of Rhodes, near the New Town, stands as a historic port that captivates visitors with its enduring charm. Serving as a gateway to the island's rich past, Mandraki is enveloped in an atmosphere that echoes the whispers of history. Its close proximity to the modern amenities of the New Town juxtaposes the ancient with the contemporary, making it a unique point of interest. This port not only offers a glimpse into the historical narrative of Rhodes but also serves as a testament to the island's long-standing connection with the sea.

Medieval clock tower (Roloi)

The Clock Tower (Clock Tower) is the highest point of the Old Town of Rhodes. However, at first glance, it is hardly noticeable at all. The best time to visit it is after dusk, as its illumination turns it into an even more impressive sight.

Monolithos Castle

Monolithos Castle, perched 236 meters above sea level near the village of Monolithos on the island of Rhodes, is a remarkable medieval fortress. Constructed atop the remnants of an older castle, its location on challenging natural terrain highlights the architectural ingenuity of its builders. This strategic position not only provided defensive advantages but also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area, embodying the historical and cultural richness of Rhodes. The castle's enduring presence invites exploration of its past and appreciation of its rugged beauty.

Municipal Art Gallery

The Municipal Gallery of Rhodes today houses one of the most representative and authoritative collections of 20th-century Greek painting. Most of the painters who worked creatively during these nine decades are represented in this collection through some of their most characteristic works.

National Theatre

The National Theatre of Rhodes was built in 1937 by an unknown architect and was then called "Teatro Puccini". It was one of the most modern theatres of its era, suitable even for the performance of operas.

Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John

The palace of the Grand Master, is probably the most emblematic work of architecture in Rhodes and undoubtedly the symbol of the island’s medieval town. It was built in the 14th century under the command of Grand Master M. de Villeneure, on the foundations of another Byzantine fortress that did not manage to survive the repeated Arab-Persian attacks from the 7th century and on.

Rhodes Acropolis (Monte Smith)

The Acropolis of Rhodes, located on the hill what is now known as Monte Smith, was historically accompanied by the Ancient Stadium of Rhodes. Today, only limited remnants of the Acropolis survive, offering a glimpse into its former magnificence. Despite the sparse remains, the site continues to be an important historical landmark, providing insight into the architectural and cultural past of Rhodes.

Rhodes Astike School

The building was constructed in 1874 and it is one of the first organized christian schools of Rhodes. It is a a continuation of the "Mutual Teaching School", founded by the metropolite of Rhodes, Paisios. The building was constructed on an older one, built in 1765, which occupied the large, communal piece of land, that extended up to the modern Venetokleion

Rhodes Old Medieval Town

The Medieval Old Town of Rhodes, recognized as the oldest inhabited medieval city in Europe, captivates visitors with its historical grandeur. As one approaches its formidable walls, the layout quickly becomes apparent: the town does not conform to a grid system. This intricate maze of streets adds to the charm and mystery of this ancient urban center, inviting exploration and discovery of its rich past.

Rhodes Post Office

The building of the Post Office is located on the Liberty Square (Platia Eleftherias) of the modern city of Rhodes. It is an excellent specimen of the Rennaisance Eclecticism and the "Finta Pietra" technology.

St. Catherine Hospice

The Hospice of St. Catherine was built in 1391-92, under grand master Heredia, by the Italian Domenico d'Allemagna, admiral of the Order of the Knights of St. John (Knights Hospitaller). The founder was an important personage, disposing of considerable means.

Suleymaniye Mosque

In the heart of Rhodes town in Greece, stands the Suleymaniye Mosque, a stoic monument to the past. Born from the ashes of the Ottoman conquest in 1522, it pays homage to Sultan Suleiman's triumphs. Though re-imagined in 1808 and touched by time, it remains the city's most distinguished testament to the Ottoman era.

The Byzantine castle of Lardos

The castle was built in the 12th century, during the Byzantine Era, by the Knights of the Order of St. John, whose main interest as soon as they arrived on the island in 1309, was to construct protective fortresses, preferably overlooking the sea, in order to defend themselves from the enemies.

The castle of Kritinia (Kastellos)

The castle of Kritinia (Kastello for the locals) is a Venetian castle built in the 16th century on a hill about 131 meters above the village of Kritinia. It is fairly considered the gem of the village as it offers a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea, the island of Chalki and the islets of Strogyli, Makri, Alimia and others.

The Medieval Castle of Lindos

The Medieval Castle of Lindos, which can be found within the Acropolis of Lindos, is a historic fortification that once included the Governor's Palace of the Knights of St. John. Originally comprising three buildings, only two have withstood the test of time. This landmark is a testament to the rich history and architectural prowess of the era, offering a glimpse into the medieval period on the island of Rhodes. The castle's strategic location and remaining structures continue to draw an abundance of visitors, making it an essential part of Lindos' cultural heritage.