Image © Rhodes Guide / RhodesGuide.com

Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos), Rhodes

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).

The ancient city of Ialyssos extended around the hill of Filerimos, which was the ancient acropolis where there are remains of buildings from the Archaic, Byzantine and Knights' periods. The temple of Athena Polias, which dates to the 3rd-2nd c. BC, was built over the site of an earlier Classical temple, to judge from from the evidence of a 5th c. BC floor and terra-cotta antefixes found there. The depository on the west side produced pottery and votive offerings dating from the 9th to the 5th c. BC.

In addition to the cult of Athena Polias, in Ialyssos there are also references to a cult of Zeus Polias. In the Early Christian period (5th-6th c. AD) a three-aisled basilica with an atrium was built on the remains of the ancient temple, in the north aisle of which a single-aisled church with a cupola was constructed in the 10th c.

In the time of the Franks this site was occupied by a medieval monastery and church.

Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos) © Rhodes Guide / RhodesGuide.com

The more important buildings in the archaeological site of Ialyssos include:

The Temple of Athena Polias. Thus is a Doric amphiprostyle, tetrastyle or hexastyle temple (that is, with a portico of four or six columns at either end) with a pronaos, cella and opisthodomos. In the cella stands the base of the cult statue. Small column drums and walls inside the cella may have belonged to an interior colonnade (3rd-2nd c. BC). Cuttings on the west side of the rock would have been used as depositories for votive offerings or cult purposes.

Doric fountain-house. Two tunnels brought water from the top of the hill to a cistern cut into the rock and closed by a poros isodomic wall in the form of a Lion-head spouts discharged the water from the closed cistern into a open tank, which was enclosed by six pillars with stone panels between them, and from there to a portico of six Doric columns which formed the facade of the fountain-house (4th c. BC). A sacred law with proscriptions for the protection of the fountain-house was carved on one of the pillars.

 

Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos) © Rhodes Guide / RhodesGuide.com

Church of the Knights' period from the 14th c. with a vaulted roof and two hexagonal chapels.

Baptistery of a three-aisled Early Christian basilica, built over the ruins of the temple of Athena.

Byzantine fortifications. These are on the east side of the hill and constructed with material taken from the ancient temple of Athena. Parts of the repairs made by the Knights are visible.

Ruins of the katholikon of a Byzantine monastery. This is a cruciform inscribed church of the C type, and dates from the end of the 10th to the beginning of the 11th c.

Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos) © Rhodes Guide / RhodesGuide.com

Medieval monastery restored during the Italian occupation. Around the interior courtyard are the rooms of a two-storey building with arched porticos leading to the monks' cells on the ground floor and the Abbot's quarters on the first floor.

Single cell chapel of Ayios Georgios Chostos, with 15th c. frescos in an eclectic style.

Excavations were carried out by the Italian Archaeological School (in 1914 and 1923-1926) during their occupation of the island. The earliest phases of the temple of Athena were excavated as well as the depository containing figurines, pottery and metal objects (9th-5th c. BC). The Doric fountain-house was also excavated and restored at this time.

Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos) © Rhodes Guide / RhodesGuide.com

Map location for Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos)

Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos) Rhodes Greece map

Article topics

Related articles

The most popular of the Dodecanese Islands and one of the most popular of all the Greek islands, Rhodes is a multifaceted place, almost like a small country, with a history that has stirred romantics for centuries. It also has some of the best beaches, archaeological sites, restaurants and nightlife in Greece.

Topics: Historic buildings, History, Medieval, Monuments in Rhodes

Read more about Rhodes Greece: Quick facts

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.

Topics: Historic buildings

Read more about Elafos Hotel

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.

Topics: Archaeology, Historic buildings, Medieval, Monuments in Rhodes

Read more about Municipal Art Gallery



Walk from the base of the mountain to this tranquil setting where usually there are not many tourists, though most will probably prefer the bus from Ialysos. Take the spiral staircase to the top of the cross, as seen on photo, and take in the mass view, one being the old airport. There is no charge for this attraction and only basic refreshments available, allow 2 hours to see ancient Ialysos and escape the hustle and bustle.

Commented by a lambert May 24, 2009

Let us know what you think about Ancient Ialyssos (Ialysos) - we would love to read your opinion!
Rate this article or place (optional)

From our blog

Rhodes is the walker's island, being the largest of the Dodecanese Island group at about 1398 square kilometers. It offers all kinds of different walking and treking routes including mountains, forestry, areas of historical interest, places of natural beauty, wine producing areas, coastal walks etc. You never have far to travel to get to the start of your walking route, eliminating the need for long bus journeys.

Read more about Walking and Trekking holidays in Rhodes

A Park that invites you to experience art under the Rhodian Sky. The Art park is a non-profit gallery of fine arts, photography, sculpture, and music. We take a look at the park and interview the owner, Mr Damon Papakiriakou, an artist, sculptor and musician.

Read more about Rhodes Art Park

An old promotional video from 1963. This story involves a tour around picturesque Greece. There are scenic shots of Rhodes and the surrounding sea, the narrator gives a history of the islands as we view them.

Read more about Rhodes, Island of the Sun (1963)

Getting married on Rhodes is not just about the ceremony. There are numerous spots that will make your wedding photos look like coming just out of a fairy tale. We are compiled a list of the top 10 spots to shoot your wedding photos.

Read more about Top locations for wedding photos on Rhodes Island

Easter (Pas-ch-a in Greek) is the most important and the most sacred religious feast in the context of the Greek Orthodox Church. As a result, If you are indeed lucky enough to visit Rhodes and Greece during Easter period, you will find yourself right in the middle of an experience rich in rituals and customs, many of which originate long before the beginning of the Christian era.

Read more about Easter in Rhodes

Rhodes has been awarded with 39 blue flags for it's crystal beaches by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (HSPN), the National Operator of the Blue Flag International Program in Greece. This makes the Rhodes the municipally with the highest count of Blue Flags, according to the HSPN.

Read more about Rhodes beaches have been awarded 39 blue flags in 2019

Your best chance to safely explore Rhodes island at your own pace and preference is by hiring a car. With an area of 1412 square kilometers, Rhodes is one of the largest islands in Greece. The driving distance from it’s most northern part - Rhodes Town - to the most southern point - Prasonisi - is 92 km or 108 km depending on the route you will choose.

Read more about Car Hire and Driving in Rhodes Greece

Feedback