The Castellanía
The building which dominates the square to the east is the *Castellani­a whose principal floor, built over an open loggia below, is approached by a flight of external steps rising to a terrace offering a good panorama over the low er part of the city. The building housed the city’s Penal and Commercial Courts in the time of the Knights. Under the Turks the upper floor became a Prayer Hall (the ‘Bedesten Cami’) and the lower portico, a fish-market: today it is home, more appropriately, to the city’s Municipal Library and Archives which look onto the courtyard garden behind the building.

Built in 1507, it bears (west front) the arms of Grand Mas ter Emery d’Amboise in white marble supported by two hommes sauvages and set in a highly ornate Gothic frame. The window below has fine white, decorated marble mullions. The *sculpted doorframe at the top of the steps is the building’s most unusual and beautiful decoration: its slightly awkward setting, pressed into the corner, suggests that it might have been moved from another site. Within a highly classicising border of bound bay-leaves, an archangel holds the arms of the Order and of Emery d’Amboise against a field of flame-bursts which fills the door-frame like the background of a tapestry. To both sides stylised trees (with something of the appearance of artichokes) support two further coats of arms, that of the Knight, Ignacio de Ayala (left), and of Philippe Villiers de l’Isle Adam (‘Grand Hospitaller’ at the time, and later Grand Master of the Order). The south façade is pleasingly articulated with ornately moulded window-frames, overhung by a row of grotesque, zoomorphic water-spouts above. In the interior the wooden ceilings are decorated with surviving, early 16th century paintings and decorative motifs.

To the west of the square rises Sokratous Street, the main commercial thoroughfare of the Old Town today and of the Ottoman, Mediaeval, Byzantine and Ancient cities before. To the south is Pythagora St, following the line of one of the arteries of Ancient Rhodes ’s Hippodamian grid-plan. The first loop begins by following the latter.

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

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