RHODES



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Rhodes - the New Town and areas outside the walls - Ancient Rhodes - outside tHe City Centre - The ancient cemeteries and walls to the South and Southeast

The Ancient Cemeteries and Walls to South and Southeast
*Ancient cemeteries lay outside of inhabited areas. Rhodes was a large city with a wealthy population, and the area given over to burials therefore extends for nearly 3km to the south and southeast of the city. A lot of these can be seen by following the line of the main north/south artery of (Sophouli and) Tsaldari Streets (southeast of the acrop olis hill). At the large junction with Ethnikis Antistasis is a small funerary area with some mosaic remains and small oikia for inhumation. By following Parthenopis Street west for 700m from this junction you come to the ‘Monument of the Shield’—a Hellenistic tomb, presumably of an important military figure given the monumental, emblematic carved shield over the door. The tomb extends in a long wall which must imitate the street façades of city houses of the period: to the right side the front is carved with the appearance of wooden doors. All this provided a quasi theatrical backdrop to any ceremony of remembrance for the dead. The tomb was visible as it is today in the 19th century and was described by the British Antiquarian, Charles Newton. To the north of here is the area supposed by some archaeologists to be the site of the theatre of the ancient city.

*Further south on Tsaldari Street, at the junction with M. Petridi Street, is a large site where the meaning of a necropolis as a ‘city of the dead’ begins to make sense— arched galleries for sarcophagi (some in situ), with rectan gular spaces for ossuaries above; steps to different levels and fragments of decorative and constructional elements in marble. An outcrop of natural rock above, with a large rectangular opening, serves as a rudimentary propylon: and to the southwest is the entrance to an impressive and spacious, underground necropolis, half hewn, half built. In the next cross street to the south (Ithakis Street) more superficial graves are being uncovered: and at other points, in the same area, are cave sepulchres and grave loculi with conches.

*Tsaldari Street ends where Konstantinou Ydreou Street cuts across it to the east (left): to the south of this street, the buildings end and you enter the northernmost extremity of Rhodini Park. Seven hundred metres of track southwest through this part of the park brings you to the so-called ‘Tomb of the Ptolemies’ or ‘Ptolemaion’—an important, probably 2nd century bc, Hellenistic funerary monument with a pedimented doorway and stuccoed façade. This is in effect an outcrop of natural rock fashioned into a 30m square block. Its north side has been dressed with a row of carved, engaged pilasters which have been plastered and were once coloured, and which stand as if on a stepped crepis. As with the ‘Monument of the Shield’, this may give us a picture of how the street front of a well-to-do residence in Rhodes may have appeared. In the interior is a transverse entrance chamber, leading into the main burial chamber with niches for the deposition of bodies. Below the façade are other, humbler burial loculi in the ground. The whole block shows evidence of having been faced on its other sides. The tomb’s name has no historical foundation, and the ascription in local folklore to the ruling royal family of Egypt with whom Rhodes had very close connections is no more than a reference to the fact that this is one of the biggest tomb-complexes in the area. 100m to its west is another complex of tombs, largely filled with earth, but with fine carved cornices visible. A free-standing rock in the field to the south has pediments and cornices carved in it, holes and channels for drainage, and a rough cross engraved in the top of the arch. *The route out of the city to Aghia Marina and Kallithea down Kodringtonou [sic] Street (named after Admiral Sir Edward Codrington (1770–1851), hero of both the Battle of Trafalgar and of the Battle of Navarino (1827) in the Greek War of Independence), crosses the best preserved stretch of the ancient city walls which were re-built after the siege of Demetrios Poliorcetes in 304/303 bc. Areas of foundations of the walls and towers stretch to left and right. Beyond this point, the same street continues as Kallitheas Avenue and crosses the ditch of the walls on a bridge whose foundations and arches are those of a well-preserved Late Hellenistic or Roman bridge (1st century bc). Kallitheas Avenue passes first between the city’s modern cemeteries, and then continues alongside the ancient cemeteries. The large area of the modern cemeteries between the road and the shore encompasses side by side an Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish and Moslem Cemetery—poignant testimony to the ethnic vicissitudes of the city’s complex history. Across the avenue (west side) is a small Allied War Graves plot with burials of victims of the Second World War in the Dodecanese. On the west side of Kallitheas Avenue to the south are several more fine necropolises cut into the rock scarp. Decorated marble altars still stand in front of some of the sarcophagus chambers. *Two kilometres along Lindou Avenue (the main road to Lindos which lies further to the west) out from the town centre, lies the entrance to Rhodini Park, to the right of the main road at the foot of a long hill. The park is a pleas ant area of public gardens with dense shade, water, wandering peacocks and grazing deer. The fertile ravine was first laid out as a park in Ottoman times; but the site is often said to be that of the School of Rhetoric of Aeschines, the 4th century bc Athenian orator who went into volun tary exile in Rhodes some time after 330 bc. The glen is at one point traversed by an Ottoman aqueduct, adapted probably from a Roman predecessor. About 700m south west from the entrance above the far side of the stream, a path leads up to the ‘Tomb of the Ptolemies’ (see p. 156).


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


access

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

eating

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

lodging

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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