Historical Sites in Rhodes

explore 5000 years of history

Image © Rhodes Guide / Spyros Spyropoulos

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 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.

Aktaion

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 Ialysos (Ialyssos)

The district of 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

On the north-western shore of Rhodes, close To the promontory of Agios Minas (the Ancient Mylantio) lies the third of The island's ancient cities - Kamiros.

Archaeological Musem

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 byzantine monastery & castle

In a quiet and shady pine forest on the hilltop of Filerimos, which is located on one of the first ancient towns of the island, Ialysos (Ialyssos), stands the astonishing Byzantine castle. Built during the Byzantine Era, the castle lies within a cluster of buildings of major historic importance, amongst Byzantine, Hellenistic and Medieval structures and monuments, including the Temples of Athena Polias and of Zeus.

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 for most visitors the most impressive archaeological site on Rhodes. The dramatic natural landscape is enhanced by the picturesque quality of the more modern town, with the Lindos Acropolis rising dominantly on a steep cliff at 116 m height like a sovereign podium overlooking the sea, framed by mighty fortress walls.

Medieval clock tower (Roloi)

Even being the highest elevation of the Old Town of Rhodes, the clock tower (Roloi), is hardly noticeable at first glance.

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.

Rhodes Acropolis

The ancient Acropolis of Rhodes, along with the Ancient Stadium of Rhodes, stood on the hill now known as Monte Smith. Only few surviving remains of the Acropolis exist to provide a faint idea of its original grandeur. Still, it is well worth a visit.

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

When you approach the walls of Medieval Old Town of Rhodes you are about to enter the oldest inhabited medieval city in Europe. It's a thrill to behold. Best to know one thing from the start about the Old Town of Rhodes: It's not laid out on a grid - not even close.

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.

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 germ of the village as it offers a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea, the island of Chalki and some other deserted islands.

The Medieval Castle of Lindos

Within the walls of the Acropolis of Lindos, lies the Medieval Castle, the Governor's Palace of the Castle of the Knights of St John, consisting of three buildings, with only two remaining today.