The Gate of St Athanasius and the southern walls
Ippodamou Street then rejoins Omirou Street. To the right, beyond the 16th century church of St Athanasius on the left side, is the *St Athanasius Gate of the Tongue of Aragon—once again different in design from the other city gates and substantially reinforced in the aftermath of 1480 with a massive crescent bastion. Today the carriage way passes through a narrow tunnel, turns right along a fausse-braie and then crosses over the deep moat onto the independent bastion. The ground far below is littered with projectiles. To the right is the original (pre-1480) circular Tower of the Virgin—which immediately seems vulnerable and antiquated by contrast with the later, protecting, outer bastion. On its south face is a white marble sculpture of the Virgin and Child in an aedicule above the coats of arms of Grand Master Jean de Lastic and an inscription bearing the date 1441.
In 1501 the idea was mooted by Grand Master d’Aubusson of sealing the d’Amboise and St Athanasius Gates for security reasons: this was not done in the case of the former, but it appears that it was carried out with this gate. In September 1522 it was briefly re-opened for a sortie: by this time the walls in this sector had been reduced in places to rubble by Turkish mining and artillery fire. It appears that Suleiman the Magnificent first entered the city he had cap tured through the St Athanasius Gate, giving orders immediately afterwards that it be walled up so that nobody else might pass through it again. It was only reopened in 1922.
As you stand on the bridge, to the east side stretch the inner walls of the sector of the Tongue of England (previously of the Tongue of Aragon, until the two swapped positions before the siege of 1522), with a long fausse braie linking a chain of towers down its length. In front, facing you at a distance of 20m, stands the blunt end of the long, independent advance-rampart which rises up from the bed-rock. Along the length of this sector the coats of arms of six Grand Masters (Fluvii£, de Lastic, de Milly, Orsini, d’Aubusson and del Carretto) bear witness to the continuous campaigns of modification and improvement. Two hundred metres east down the walk along the facing counterscarp is the Gate of St John, beyond a small Ottoman fountain. The next (eastern) itinerary begins here.
Rhodes Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.