Rhodes - the New Town and areas outside the walls - Ancient Rhodes - outside tHe City Centre - Between the new town and the Acropolis

Between the New Town and the Acropolis
*The pleasing oasis of the Rhodian Villa and Cultural Centre (open Mon–Fri 8.30–2.30, 3.45–9; Sat 7.45–1. Gardens open always in daylight hours) stands in a mature garden in the heart of the one of the busiest areas of the town (access from both Diakou and Venizelou Streets). The institution houses a library and exhibition areas in a handsome neoclassical villa with verandahs, surrounded by dense and varied vegetation.

*The storage rooms of a Hellenistic house give an unusual picture of the service areas and cellars of a 4th century bc house. (Entered to the left side of the large Tourism School building on Troizinas Street, across from the d’Amboise Gate. The site is at the far side of the car parking area, and lies currently underneath a school building.) Steps at first lead down to the ancient floor-level, where there are two areas of polychrome floor decoration, suggesting a residence of some importance. Beside this and below, are several deep chambers cut into the bed-rock used for storing grain and other perishables. Insets for the original roof-beams can be seen, as well openings for ventilation. The easternmost chamber has small steps leading into it and grooves for sliding a wooden retaining door; there are wedge-shaped shafts at various points, used as chutes for filling the chambers. At the opposite end is a deep cylindrical well with foot-holes to each side inside. In an age before refrigeration and running water, these were the practical arrangements necessary for supplying a residence.

*The Early Christian basilica which lies beneath the builds at the intersection of Heimaras Street and Pavlou Mela Streets, about half way up the acropolis hill, is the most extensive and important Palaeochristian complex uncov ered in the city. The site is unattractively overhung with several apartment buildings which rise on concrete piles from the excavations; but the area uncovered and the quality of the exceptional *mosaic floor with abstract design (visible from Mela St.) still in situ, make it worth seeking out. In the southeast corner are remains of earlier antique paving and architectural elements. One block further west, along the edge of Sophouli Street, are the foundations of the street-facing façades of Hellenistic houses. The streets in this area closely follow the grid of the ancient Hippoda mian plan.

*Nearby on the upper eastern slope of Mount Smith are the excavations of a so-called ‘Palatial Building’ and of a Hellenistic house, which lie to either side of Enoplon Dinameon Street. In the latter, below the level of a peristyle and pebble-mosaic floor can be seen a plastered, multiple chambered cistern, suggesting an impluvium for water storage. Mosaic floor and elements of the water management system of a large residence can be seen in the ‘Palatial Building’ excavations.

*The area of olive and oak trees stretching to the west of Diagoridon Street and up to the crown of the hill is an Archaeological Park (always open) comprising the Ancient Stadium, an (?) Odeion and the Temple of Pithian Apollo, most of which was first uncovered by Italian archaeologists between 1919 and 1929. According to the fashion of their time and the wishes of their political masters, what was uncovered was also considerably restored in a manner that has inevitably deadened its antique appeal. The ground level in and around the (2nd century bc) Stadium has risen leaving the first row of seats partly sunken: a gentle swelling curve in the line of two long sides can be detected. At the points where steps descend through the seating, small slots can be seen in the row of seats with back-rests, for the fixing of wooden retaining panels or doors. Beyond its north end, is a small building generally referred to as a ‘theatre’, which has been mostly reconstructed (apart from the orchestra and three of the seats, which are original). Although too small for a theatre proper, this probably functioned as an Odeion—a type of building designed for more intimate performances of music, song or poetry, as well as for teaching and occasional political meetings. The fact that the external form of the structure is square brings to mind the design of the ‘bouleuterion’, or council chamber, in Ancient Priene (Turkey)—a city which was also laid out by Hippodamus.
    From the Odeion, steps lead up an impressive work of terracing. The Italian restorers have intervened heavily, but the well-designed stepping of some of the lower areas and the rustication of the ancient blocks clearly distinguish the antique work from the new. At the top, the ground flattens out onto the terrace of the twin-sanctuary of Apollo Pithios, and of his sister Artemis, whose temple stood below and a little to the north. The columns of one corner of the 4th century bc Temple of Apollo have been re-built by the Italian archaeologists to indicate the height of the building: it was a hexastyle Doric temple, oriented due east. The construction of its platform presents many points of inter est: the floor of the interior naos was constituted by the cut, living bedrock; and the podium or crepidoma of the temple was created by cutting away the rock all around and then facing it with steps. These steps demonstrate the fine qualities of Hellenistic masonry, which is never lacking in pleasing details: the lowest step is rough-course bed-rock, the second step has a raised lip on its outer edge, and the upper three courses are pleasingly tapered and undercut at the lower join. The corners are beautifully finished and the whole has the necessary, bowed rise towards the centre. Under the east end, a chamber has been left between the bed-rock core and the inside of the steps. A similar situ ation is presented in the ruins of the Temple of Artemis below, where a cut in the rock drops down to a plastered cistern to either side.

*Along the ridge of Mount Smith behind—which takes its name from the redoubtable Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith (1764–1840) who lodged in a house on the hill in 1799 and 1800 during his campaigns against the French navy in the Napoleonic Wars—are the few scattered re mains of what was the acropolis of Ancient Rhodes . At the highest point (111 m a.s.l.) to the northern end, were sited the two temples of Zeus Polieus and of Athena Polias, dominating the skyline from every direction of arrival by sea. Virtually nothing remains except for a few scattered column drums which mark the sites. To the east and a lit tle below, however, extensive cutting of the living rock and stretches of walling give an intimation of the flight of terraces which led to them. These mark the edge of an interesting area of underground ‘nymphaea’.

*The several so-called *Nymphaea (or sanctuaries dedicated to the Nymphs) which sink deeply down from ground level at the northern end of Mount Smith just east of the summit, probably began life as cisterns for collecting water from the several seeping springs in the area. A good way of understanding them is by beginning at the hidden hermitage or grotto of Aghios Nikolaos where the pagan cult of the nymphs seems to live on in a Christian guise (this lies just below the east side of Boreiou Ipeirou Street). Like the nymphaea, it originally housed a small seeping spring. Across the road from Aghios Nikolaos is a series of inter connected chambers with arched niches below ground level and rock-cut steps leading down into them. These are now completely uncovered, but may have been—at least partially—roofed: one of them (to the northeast) shows signs of a ledge for a roof. The complex is entered down a long rock-cut sloping dromos from the east. From ground level several openings are visible, but they interconnect and belong to the one complex. Further north, and just to the west (left) of the road is another complex conceived in the form of an atrium with a central impluvium, and apse-like areas to either end, with many rock-cut niches for votive objects above (especially on the north side). Some remains of carved decoration are visible: on the east side, a rock cut entablature and ‘capitals’ can still be seen. Be low, cut steps are visible leading down into what must have been a pool of water whose level varied seasonally. Across the road (east side) is another grotto, more obviously de signed as a cistern or well-house with access by steps. The springs which gave rise to this group of quasi-sanctuaries have dried now; but their importance to the inhabitants of the city is represented in the sacred spaces that they carved and created around the functional cisterns at their centre, and which they dedicated to the nymphs—protecting divinities of the springs.

Rhodes Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.


Rhodes Island, 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 Island, Greece.

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

further reading

Rhodes Island, Greece.

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 Island, Greece.

The most beautiful and characterful place to stay in the Old Town of Rhodes is the -Hotel Marco Polo (T./fax 22410 25562, www. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; open May–late Oct) at 42 Aghiou Phanaríou Street, not far from where it joins (the main) Sokrátous Street at the Mehmet Agha Mosque. With architecturally fine rooms of great individuality, and the thoughtful and friendly service that goes with private ownership, this is a memorable place either to stay or just to dine on its imaginative, traditional food in the peace and quiet of a mediaeval walled-garden. Elegant, modern luxury at a higher price, in an enviable location just off the Street of the Knights, is offered by the newly opened -Avalon Boutique Hotel (T./ fax 22410 31438/31439, www.avalonRhodes .gr), which is open all year round. The Old Town also has many small and characterful pensions: worthy of mention are, The Apollo Guesthouse (T. 22410 32003, www.apollo-touristhouse.com) and Hotel Andreas (T. 22410 34156, fax 74285, www.hotelandreas.com), at 28c and 28d Omírou Street respec tively (contiguous, but under separate management) not far from the St John/Koski nou Gate, and overlooking the ancient church of Aghia Kyriaki. Both are relatively inexpensive, and inhabit interesting buildings; the rooms are comfortable, but small. At Ippodámou Street, 61, is the delightful S. Nikolis Hotel (T. 22410 34561, fax 32034, www.s-nikolis.gr). These last three close between late October and the week before Easter. In the winter season, the New Town has a number of hotels which are open year-round and offer more conventional services and convenience. Comfort able and satisfactory, without being too big or expensive, is the A-class Hotel Mediterranean (T. 22410 24661, fax 22828, www.mediterranean. gr), opposite the Casino at 35 Kos Street; most rooms have good sea-views. Exceptional value year-round is represented by the Esperia Hotel (T. 22410 23941–4) at 7 Griva Street which is warm, pleasant and strictly functional: the pool-side rooms are quietest.

Rhodes Travel Guide

practical info

Rhodes Island, Greece.

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

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