You are here: Home ￫ click here to EXPLORE Rhodes ￫ Southern Rhodes ￫ the areas of Vati, Prophilia, Arnitha & Apolakkia
At the junction (58.5km) in Gennadi, 3.5km further south along the east coast road from the turning to Asklepieio, a road cuts west across the tip of the island to Apolakkia and the southwest coast. 2.5km inland on this road is Vati, a small village with a picturesque main square of stone houses, which is at the centre of a hilly landscape, ideal for exploration on foot. In the valley to the east of the village a Mycenaean necropolis has been uncovered. There are several ruined windmills in the vicinity and many rural churches—some with wall-paintings, some with ancient marbles as altars, some decorated only in the last few years. The most remarkable church in the area, however, is in the village of Prophilia, 6.5 km to the north, which hugs the ridge of a hill with distant views of the sea. Beside the road in the centre of the village is the 12th century church of SS. Michael and George—a small, vaulted space with -paintings of the late 12th century of the highest quality, in a fresh and vigorous style which is seen in few other places on the island. The spare lines of the figures, and in particular the compelling faces and eyes of the protagonists (Christ, John the Baptist, the Virgin) are marvellous examples of art of the Comnene age—one of the last periods of Byzantine art before an unhappy fossilisation of forms sets in. For this author, at least, these are the finest paintings on the island. On the north wall (symbolically the side of Satan, from which evil comes) are the saints who defend us from that evil: St Anthony, and the two mounted figures of St George and the Archangel Michael, beautifully conceived in relation to one another. (Note also St George’s square stirrups.) Above is the Crucifixion and the Harrowing of Hell. What dominates the interior, however, is the powerful -face of the Pantocrator in the conch, between His Mother and St John the Baptist. On the arch above, an almost monochrome Al mighty in a nimbus, framed by angels boldly and beautifully depicted in flight, points to His Son below and to the Virgin Mary to one side, who accepts the acclaim with innocence and dignity. On the south side the scenes from the Life of the Virgin and from the Apocalypse are less well-preserved. The colours are fresh: a (ferrous oxide) yellow ochre, typical of wall-painting of the period, predominates. By coincidence—as if to round off the pleasure given by these paintings—one of the best rural tavernas on Rhodes is directly opposite the church (see ‘Eating’ below). The villages of Istrio, Arniha and Apolakkia to the west of here are small agricultural centres, set in a verdant and well-watered landscape, with stone houses grouped around a plateia and church at their centres. There are several functioning monasteries in the area, the most at tractive of which is Aghios Ioannis, between Prophilia and Arniha. Near to it is the site of Aghia Irini where there are remains of two Early Christian basilicas and a baptistery. (The site is in a field beyond a small grove of young olive trees, 100m west of the Arniha to Istrio road, at a point which is 30m north of the sign to the monastery of Aghios Ioannis, as you come from Arniha.) There are the remains of at least two (?) 6th century churches standing to over 2m in height in places. One, to the south of the area, has a double apse; the larger one to the north, has its synthronon still visible as well as the base of the altar and its canopy. There are several columns in fine, local marble within the area of the ruins; just to the west, in the field, are fragments of a large water-stoup or font, and other pieces of worked stone. To the north is the floor of a tetraconch baptistery with mosaic floor, figuring both abstract patterns and designs with birds. It is difficult to assess how large the site once was; shards—predominantly of pithoi and storage vases—litter the area for some distance around. From the east side of the village of Apolakkia, a track leads off to the north towards a water-reservoir and dam. After 3km a turn left leads up a steep slope to the isolated church of Aghios Giorgios Vardas—a simple, sin gle-aisled building whose paintings inside can be dated precisely to 1289/90 from the donor’s inscription. Even though their condition is not good, many of the scenes are legible: Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem (south side), and some of the figures of saints, such as St Tryphon and St Nikitas (northwest corner), stand out in particular. Their quality is good, but they have no great originality: a moment’s comparison with those in Prophilia shows how that ‘fossilisation’ had taken hold in the hundred years that separate these two cycles.
Rhodes Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.
By air: With a total of 6–7 daily flights from Athens to Rhodes operated by both Olympic Air and Aegean Airways, Rhodes is easily accessible at all times of year. Its airport is also the hub for local flights within the area to Kastellorizo, Karpathos and Kasos (almost daily), and to Kos, Leros and Astypalaia (three times weekly). There are also daily connections direct to Thessaloniki and to Heraklion (Crete). The airport is 15km southwest of the centre of Rhodes town (€15 by taxi).
By boat: The port of Rhodes is also the principal hub for the Dodecanese Islands, with daily connections to all the principal islands, though the frequency of connections to the lesser islands varies considerably according to season (see entries for individual islands). There are year-round, direct connections by car-ferry to Piraeus (c. 16 hours) every day; and connections to eastern Crete twice weekly. In the holiday season, there are also daily connections (by private carriers) to Marmaris in Turkey. Since the port is large and has several harbours, it is important to ascertain from which part of it a ferry will leave.
The neighbouring island of Chalki is served twice weekly from Rhodes town, but there is a daily service from Kameiros Skala (2 hours). The GNTO office in the New Town (corner of Makariou and Papagou Streets, T. 22410 44335) provides helpful sheets with weekly boat departures, museum opening times, a price-list for taxis and schedules of bus times and fares for the whole island. Its web-site is: www.ando.gr/eot
Rhodes Travel Guide
Rhodes offers some of the best and most varied eating possibilities in the Aegean— although in the city itself, the visitor will need to explore outside the Old Town to sample the best Greek food. Within the walls of the Old Town, unimaginative and often overpriced tourist-fare prevails; we would suggest only: the -Marco Polo (see lodging, above); Dinoris Restaurant (upper medium price) in a tiny alley across from the entrance to the Archaeological Museum— an elegant and traditional taverna of long standing, one of the few in the Old Town regularly frequented by locals; Photis Restaurant (expensive; open all year) in Menekléous Street—also an elegant and well-established fish restaurant, where the undoubted high quality and presentation of its dishes compensates for the hauteur of the reception and service. At lunchtime, -Indigo (medium price), inside the Nea Agorá market building (at no.105/6) beside Mandraki harbour, offers delicious, finely prepared dishes from the cuisine of Greek Asia Minor. Further afield (but without question worth the short taxi-ride) in Zephyros, southeast of the city centre, is the -Paragadi fish restaurant (medium expensive; corner of Klaude Pepper & Australias Streets: reservation recommended, T. 22410 37775) with an exceptional quality of service and of seafood and fish dishes, prepared in the best and simplest manner. This is one of the best fish restaurants in the Dodecanese. Nearby, open all year, and usually packed with locals, is To Steki tou Cheila (inexpensive) at the southern end of Kodringtonou St., on the corner of Hadjiangelou and Dendrinou Sts: the symiakó (tiny shrimps) and the wine are both fresh and delicious.
Around the island: Mavrikos in Lindos (expensive; reservations, T. 22440 31232) is a fine and justly famous restaurant with pleasing setting, serving many homemade products. The excellent and panoramic -To Limeri tou Listí ("The robber"s den") in Prophilía (T. 22440 61578) in the central south of the island, certainly merits the long journey and represents one of the best places to eat on the island: it has imaginatively and care fully prepared traditional dishes of the highest standard, e.g. a light and unforgettable imam bayaldı. Nearby, Petrino in the picturesque plateia of Váti, is a good country taverna with fresh and unaffected cuisine.
Rhodes Travel Guide
Cecil Torr, Rhodes in Ancient Times and Rhodes in Modern Times (first published by CUP in 1885, both now re-issued by Archaeopress ‘3rd guides’, Oxford); Lawrence Durrell, Reflections on a Marine Venus (Faber & Faber, London, 1953); H.J.A Sire, The Knights of Malta (Yale, London & New Haven, 1994); Vassilis Colonas, Italian Architecture in the Dodecanese Islands, 1912–1943 (Olkos Press, Athens, 2002); Elias Kollias, The Mediaeval City of Rhodes etc.,(Ministry of Culture, Athens, 1998).
Rhodes Travel Guide
Rhodes Travel Guide
851 00-09 Rhodes : area 1,401sq. km; perimeter 220km; resident population 115,334; max. altitude 1,216m. Port Authority: 22410 22220, 28888, 28666. Travel and information: www.travel-Rhodes .com
Rhodes Travel Guide