RHODES



redline

Rhodes - The northwest of the island and Kameiros - Philerimos and the Acropolis of Ialysos

A winding road (signed) climbs up from Trianda through dense pine woods to the panoramic acropolis of ancient Ialysos on the flat limestone summit of Mount Philerimos (267m). (Open Apr–Oct 8.30–7.30; Nov–Mar 8.30–2.30; closed Mon.) In spite of its importance in Antiquity, there is less for the modern visitor to see here than at either Lindos or Kameiros. A strange atmosphere prevails, due partly to the lifeless and over-restored mediaeval buildings which occupy much of the ancient sanctuary. On entering the enclosure, the remains of the 3rd century bc Temple of Athena Ialysia (which is probably built over the site of an earlier Phoenician temple) are visible directly in front of the monastery buildings. The stylobate is preserved, perfectly oriented to the cardinal points, and nearby are the drums of fluted columns, some of which retain vestiges of coloured stucco. In the 6th century ad an Early Christian basilica with three aisles was built over the temple. Its southern apse, just southeast of the temple, encloses a cruciform baptismal pool. Steps for immersion set in its floor are clearly visible, as well as remnants of its lining in Proconnesian marble. The existing church to the north is dedicated to the Virgin of Philerimos (or Filermo) and was heavily rebuilt by the Italians in 1931 to recreate the original mediaeval monastery which was mostly destroyed during the Turkish occupation. The plan is highly unusual, with three separate chapels inside, reached through a vaulted vestibule. To the left (south) is the Orthodox chapel, with a pleasing but slightly artless floor in polychrome marble; this was the first element of the complex to be built in the 13th century. To the right (north) of this, a further sanctuary and a subsidiary chapel were added by the Knights of St John in the 14th century to accommodate Roman Catholic rite. The Knights also added a bell-tower, of which the existing fortress-like version built by the Italians is no more than a fanciful memory. On the outside of the church (east side) is an unusually high pulpit in stone looking onto the monastery’s tranquil cloister, lined with cells; beyond this is the former abbot’s residence. The most unspoiled mediaeval survival is the tiny chapel of St George ‘Chostos’ (‘underground’), below the level of the temple (reached by turning left at the entrance to the site) which was probably the crypt or funerary chapel of a church which once stood above. Its interior is covered in wall paintings which, though in poor condition, are still legible and of considerable interest: beneath some 17th century repainting are areas of the original 15th century images. In the vault, to the left are scenes of the Passion of Christ, and to the right, the Early Life of the Virgin; a dynamic St George occupies a large space towards the bottom of the east wall. On the side walls—painted as if to resemble figures on hanging tapestries—are kneeling knights being presented by their patron saints. The hill-top to the east of the monastery bears the remains of much history: the commanding, wide panorama of the full sweep of the north of the island and the neighbouring islands and sea-routes explains why. At the northeast extremity are the remains of a Byzantine for tress, incorporating fragments of ancient building mate rial; this fell to the Knights of St John in 1306, was enlarged by them and in turn was captured by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1522. From a camp on this vantage point the Sultan planned his siege of Rhodes . More recently the hill was contended by the Italians and Germans in 1943. Between the monastery and the castle on the promontory, are the steep entrances into two large underground cisterns, as well as a number of deep-cut water courses which traverse the area. The unexcavated foundations of ruined structures are everywhere on the plateau; erosion of its southern perimeter has left cisterns, staircases and habitations—the visible remains of the ancient city of Ialysos—hanging on the precipice. This was a large settle ment, and densely inhabited in antiquity. The treasure of the site (currently closed) is the ancient spring and the -Doric, colonnaded water-fountain, deep down the southern side of the acropolis amidst a stand of plane trees. Steps descend steeply for 50m, from the southern extremity of the archaeological enclosure, down to the elegant Hellenistic structure which dates from the mid 4th century bc and was reassembled in 1926 by Italian archaeologists. The colonnade is about 9m long, with the fountain tanks behind faced in marble with decorative lions’ heads both on the rear wall, just above water level, and on the front: only one of these was perforated and functioned as a spout. One of the antae bears a scarcely legible inscription with regulations for the use of the fountain. The water, which rises close by, is particularly soft. Outside the enclosure of Philerimos, from the small square beside the entrance, a tree-lined avenue leads west past relief images of the fourteen stations of the cross and culminates in a massive cement cross at the summit, which has the appearance of something constructed to withstand nuclear attack. To the left of the avenue, on the southern edge of the hill, are more ancient remains buried in the undergrowth; to the right are the ruins of a three-aisled cruciform church with narthex, dating from the 10th century. This was probably the catholicon and nucleus of another small monastic complex. The icon of the Virgin of Philerimos The monastery’s treasure was the priceless Icon of the Virgin of Philerimos, which was brought from Jerusalem in the 13th century and was believed to have been painted by St Luke. At times of great danger it was transferred to Rhodes to give the city divine protection. During the siege of 1522 it was lodged in the small church of St Mark (see p. 43) close to the bastion of St George. The icon was one of the only possessions the Knights took with them when they sailed away from Rhodes in January 1523. It was then kept in the Co-cathedral of St John in Valletta. Later, when Malta was surrendered to the French in 1798, the ill-starred Grand Master, Ferdnand von Hompesch, sent the icon to Czar Paul of Russia; after the Bolshevik Revolution it was taken to Yugoslavia where it subsequently disappeared.


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

Book your Trip to Greece

ferry

advertisements