RHODES



redline

Rhodes - the Old Town - the walls and within - Central Sector: south of Sokratous Str. and west of Pythagora Str. - Aghios Phanorios and Athenas square

Aghios Phanoúrios and Athenas Square
The western exit of Dorieos Square leads into one of the best-preserved arteries of the mediaeval town—Aghiou Phanouriou Street which follows the north/south line of a street of the ancient city. Its length is punctuated by bracing buttresses linking the buildings on either side of the street, giving them protection from tremors and earthquakes. To the south is the 13th century church of Aghios Phanourios—active and important before the arrival of the Knights, and still one of the most frequented churches of the city today. Beyond an unenticing, pre fabricated metal and glass vestibule, the old church lies at considerably lower level—its numinous, domed interior entirely decorated with three successive layers of wall paintings (13th, early 14th, and 15th century) in deteriorating condition, due to crystalline efflorescences and layers of smoke grease.
  
The most legible area (dated by an inscription to 1335/36— the years in which the western arm of the church appears to have been extended) is the niche on the right as you enter, showing the hatted benefactors or *donors and their wives presenting the church to Christ, in a garden of pomegranate trees. The ghostly forms of the Archangel Michael in the north transept and of the Pantocrator in the dome are vis ible; but many of the other scenes of the Twelve Feasts and of the Life of the Baptist on the vaults and walls are largely unreadable in their present condition. After so many closed churches in the town, the devotion which can be sensed here is refreshing. Aghios Phanourios is a popular local saint, about whose life virtually nothing is known. His cult goes back allegedly to the finding of an icon bearing his name and scenes of his martyrdom, probably around the 9th century. He is the patron saint of the finding of lost things, and it is traditional to dedicate a cake (a ‘Phanouropita’) to the saint in thanks for items retrieved. He is a predominantly Rhodian saint, and the unbroken, centuries-old cult in this church is testimony to his considerable local importance.

Another of the city’s churches which predates the ar rival of the Knights, the 13th century Aghios Spyridon, lies 200m to the north, down the narrow alley-way opposite the Marco Polo Hotel. It is of an inscribed-cross plan, surmounted by a low cupola pleasingly decorated with a slightly uneven blind arcade. Its history is long and complex, as the extensive excavations being undertaken around and inside it are revealing. Outside the church, these have revealed fragments of antique columns, the ubiquitous stone projectiles, and sections of 6th century ad foundations below: inside, Early Christian sepul chral chambers and ancient masonry have been brought to light, suggesting that there may have been a funerary chapel on this site attached to the large basilica to the east (see below) in Early Christian times. The interior still conserves small areas of painting. The stocky minaret from the church’s period as the ‘Kavakli Mescid’ is perfectly preserved.
   To the east of Aghios Spyridon, Athenas Square opens out, whose irregular area is the result of damage in the Second World War. It is bisected by the impressive ruins of the 14th century basilica of the Archangel Michael, which was perhaps built by the Greek community as a new cathedral after the Panaghia tou Kastrou (whose form it closely resembles) had been appropriated by the Knights. The excavations reveal to the north side the foundations of a large Early Christian basilica of the 6th century (part of the curve of the main apse protrudes to the north at the lowest level). This was destroyed perhaps as early as the 8th century; a small Byzantine church was then built over its south aisle, which survived until the larger 14th century church was built to replace it on the same site. This became the ‘Demirli Cami’ under the Turks, and was then irreparably damaged during the last war. The surrounding excavations reveal sections of wall, columns and segments of decorative frieze—some with exquisite bay-leaf design. Areas of painted decoration survive in the ruined apse of the Mediaeval building.


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