RHODES



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Rhodes - the New Town and areas outside the walls - Koundouriotou square, the Rhodes Administration building and the Cathedral

Koundouriotou Square, the Rhodes Administration Building and the Cathedral
Koundouriotou Square is a rich assemblage of some of the most interesting architecture of the Italian period. On the landward (west) side, the low wall of the cemetery (punctuated by a fine, carved Ottoman fountain, 10m to the north of the cemetery entrance) joins two early buildings by Florestano di Fausto: the Naval Administration Building (1925) to the south, with ornate window and door frames imitating those of the architecture of the Knights, and a unique, interwoven basket-work design in the plaster on the lower areas; and to the north, the Rhodes Garrison Building (1926), whose fine monumental doorway dominating the façade is directly in spired by elements of the Doge’s palace in Venice. Opposite (north side of the square) is the large pantheon-like dome of the ‘Elli’ building (1935: now a cafe and formerly ‘La Ronda Sea Baths’ complex) whose bolder, undecorated surfaces and purer geometric forms are typical of the work of Armando Bernabiti. The magnificent domed interior space is enlarged by an open surrounding ambulatory offering unencumbered glimpses of the open sea. Towards the shore (east side) is Rodolfo Petracco’s Lido building of 1929 (formerly the Navy Club) with an extravagantly oriental silhouette, and an entrance decorated with relief mouldings of marine creatures and an anchor.
   Closing off the square to the south is the most ornate of the four different façades of the ‘Rhodes Administration Building’ (the Nomarchi­a, or Prefecture today) dating from 1926/7 by Florestano di Fausto. Although designed to be the centrepiece of the original Foro Italico, this is a highly idiosyncratic building, exhibiting many peculiarities of design and with something of an unresolved crisis of architectural identity. The arcade and its supporting columns are almost exaggeratedly ‘submerged’ here: the arches are of pointed, Gothic form at the north end and become almost immediately rounded and ‘Rationalist’ along the eastern front. The depth of the building is also precariously narrow in relation to its length. The short north façade is in a highly ornate, Venetian Gothic style, with extensive use of stone tracery; the long west façade is in severe Hospitaller idiom; and the east, port-side façade is a Rationalist meditation on the waterside front of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, whose brick-work patterns are deliberately mimicked here. The resulting amalgam is not unsuccessful, but comes at considerable cost to stylistic coherence. The character of all these buildings is in total contrast to the severe ‘Teatro Puccini’ of a decade later, which can be glimpsed just beyond to the southwest.
   At its southern end, the ‘Rhodes Administration Building’ is linked by means of an open Flag Court to the Offices of the Metropolitan of Rhodes , which in turn is contiguous with the city’s cathedral. The court is a wide arched space, framing open views of the harbour and enclosing a ceremonial flag-pole mounted inside a well-preserved 2nd century ad, Roman altar in white marble decorated with bucrania and garlands: the borders of the broad spans of its arches are richly decorated with carved motifs in Hospitaller style. Di Fausto’s two ecclesiastical buildings, projected in 1924 and completed in 1929—the former Archbishop’s Residence (Offices of the Metropolitan) and the Cathedral of St John (now the Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation)—strike a rather dour note by comparison. The cathedral (which is curiously oriented on a north south axis) was created as a faithful recreation of the Hospitaller church of St John which once stood across from the Castle of the Grand Master and was destroyed in 1856; its exterior was originally spare and its interior undecorated, as befitted a military church. Once it became an Orthodox place of worship af ter 1947, a complete cycle of wall-paintings, in traditional Orthodox iconography, was commissioned for the inte rior. The painter, Photis Kontoglou (1895–1965) from Aivali in Greek Asia Minor, had always possessed artistic sympathies close to Byzantine subjects (see also his other works in the Museum of Modern Greek Art). The cycle includes the scenes of the Life of Christ, and of the Life of Mary according to the 24 verses of the Acathist Hymn.


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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