This precise site where now also Kritinia village can be found, was chosen by the Knights of the Order of St. John to build the castle, because of its important strategic location: It allowed complete monitoring of the sea, and thus, the activities of pirates and other enemies. Originally, the castle of Kritinia was divided in three levels, each of them belonging to a different Grand Master of the Knights of the Order of St. John.
In 1480, the Ottoman Turks sent 100.000 soldiers across Rhodes in an effort to invade and conquer the island with a big number of troops sent to Kritinia as well, attempting to seize the castle.
However, regardless of the fact that the Turks significantly outnumbered the Knights, and after many bloodshed battles, the Turkish troops finally retreated, leaving the castle full of ruins and damages. Without wasting time however, the Knights engaged themselves to restoring the damages that the castle had sustained, bringing it back to its original form.
Only the shell of the castle still survives today. Above the rather disintegrated entrance of it, lie the coats of arms of two of the Grand Masters of the Medieval Era. The coat of arms of the Grand Master D’Amboise (1503-1512) and the one of the Grand Master Origny (1467 – 1476). Within the walls, there are also remnants of a chapel devoted to Saint John, where you can view amazing 16th century wall paintings.
Fortunately, and as the Greek Archeological Services had realized the importance of the castle, a reinforcement programme will take place in order to conserve and renovate the damaged sections of the castle and the church.
How to get to the Castle of Kritinia
The castle is located 48.6 km (approx. 1 hour driving time) from Rhodes Town. The hill on which the village of Kritinia and the castle are situated are on a bus route, however in order to reach the castle you would have to cross a little dirt road that leads all the way up to the castle, so maybe hiring a car would be a good idea. Also, you should bring with you.