You are here: Home ￫ click here to EXPLORE Rhodes ￫ the Old Town ￫ central Sector: south of Sokratous Str. & west of Pythagora Str. ￫ Arionos Square & the Mosque of Mustafa III
The second loop in this area begins a few metres to the west of the Agha Mosque, where Menekleous Street meets Sokratous Street.
Ariónos Square and the Mosque of Mustafa III
Menekleous Street winds through a succession of small squares lined with restaurants and cafes. On the right hand side (after the third dog-leg of the street) is the three-aisled church of SS. Constantine and Helen—in conspicuous, and yet one of the oldest surviving churches within the city. Once again excavations beneath the floor of the existing 12th century structure are revealing earlier building on the same site. The exterior base of the east wall incorporates several carved ancient fragments in white marble, including a finely wrought capital. The interior is mostly bare, but a small panel of late Byzantine wall-painting survives in the south east corner. A similar situation is encountered at Aghios Artemios (14th/15th century) in Ergiou Street (30m to the south), where vestiges of later painting still decorate the door-frame, and fragments of columns, bases and capitals in different coloured marbles are immured in the earlier walls and foundations around the church. It was not uncommon for a dedication to St Artemios to be used when a church replaced a pre-existing shrine to Artemis.
At its summit, Menekleous Street opens into Arionos Square in front of the bulky form of the Mosque of Mustafa III (1765). The building is a shadow of its former self: it has lost its minaret, the wide, pillared porch which shaded the main door, and the canopy over its finely carved fountain in front. But some of its decoration still survives: an ornate inscription over the door (bearing the Sultan’s dedication), and the mimbar, the mihrab and the wooden gallery inside the spacious prayer hall. Opposite the mosque are the buildings of the *Yeni Hamam, now carefully restored and functioning as municipal baths (open Mon–Fri 10–5; Sat 8–5). The earliest complex on the site was first built either under Suleiman the Magnificent or his successor Selim II in the years between 1558 and 1568 as a men’s baths; in 1765 it was enlarged by Mustafa III with the addition of the women’s baths. Together they constitute one of the finest examples of an Ottoman hamam outside of the three royal cities of Istanbul, Bursa and Edirne. In Rhodes , the baths perhaps lack the critical mass of bathers they would have in an Islamic city; but the interiors are constructed with fine materials and proportions, and they reward visiting. The main, domed entrance chamber is a beautiful space with a height equivalent to its diameter.
Rhodes Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.