RHODES



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Rhodes - the Old Town - the walls and within Northern sector: The 'Collachium' area, N of Sokratous str. - The Hospital of the Knights - general

The Hospital of the Knights and the Rhodes
Archaeological Museum

The building
This was the Knights’ second, or ‘Great Hospital’, built 80 years after its mid-14th century predecessor on the west side of Argyrokastrou Square. The carved inscription above the main entrance refers to the founding of a new ‘Xenodocheio’ (travellers’ lodgings) by Grand Master Antonio Fluvii£ (1421–37) who endowed it with a gift of 10,000 Florins in his will. Construction was only begun in July 1440 under his successor, Jean de Lastic. It was badly damaged in the siege of 1480 and was only finally in service towards the end of the same decade. Although tending to the sick was a primary mission of the Knights, their title of ‘Hospitallers’ also referred to the hospitality and protection they were obliged to give to pilgrims travelling to and from the Holy Land. Only a part of this building, therefore, functioned as a hospital for the sick, the rest being given over to lodgings for pilgrims and their horses—hence the appearance it has externally and internally of a caravanserai, with stables and storage spaces below and sleeping quarters above. The building is conceived with customary military simplicity. The long plain façade above the row of arched magazine entrances is relieved only by two string-courses and the apse-like projection above the main gate, whose simple and dignified decoration and vertical mouldings are more appreciable by contrast. The original cypress-wood doors, divided into 34 panels intricately carved with decorative designs and archangels, were given by Sultan Mahmud II in 1836 to Louis-Philippe of France and are now in Versailles. The relief above the gate shows angels holding the Fluvii£ arms beneath the banner of the Order with the dedicatory inscription below. The proceeds from renting out as shops the row of seven independent ‘magazines’ to either side of the entrance helped defray the expenses of the hospital and its work. The interior courtyard—substantially restored by Amedeo Mauri between 1913 and 1918, and again in 1949 after war damage—has an even greater, monastic chastity to it. The surfaces are unadorned except for some minimal attention to the capitals from which the ribs and vaults spring.
   This starkness is in contrast to the effect of the beautiful *Infirmary Ward which occupies the entire length of the east side on the upper level and is one of the fin est interior spaces in Rhodes . The diffused natural light, airy spaciousness and noble proportions of this long rectangular hall, with its elegant procession of high, Gothic arches down the centre, must have exerted a benign influence on the sufferings of those confined here. The space must be imagined furnished with its 32 beds canopied with fine brocade—the tranquility disturbed only by the hushed movements of the nurses and surgeons who were permanently on duty and the sputtering of the fire-place at the south end of the room. Its similarity to the ‘Hall of the Poor’ in Chancellor Rolin’s Hotel-Dieu in Beaune, founded in the same years, is striking. The focus of the room was the exedra in the centre of the east wall, framed by a wide arch decorated with flamboyant tracery; here, below the high windows, stood the altar where mass was celebrated daily. To both sides, small doorways lead into windowless cubicles which probably served to provide a measure of privacy for the more intimate operations and examinations which the treatment of the patients on occasions required. It should be recalled that men and women patients were not segregated.
A number of the Grand Masters’ funerary monuments and escutcheons salvaged from the church of St John after its destruction have been collected together here: at the north end, the arms of Juan Fernandez de Heredia (1377–96) with bronze lettering and dark stone inlay for the coat of arms, and an Antique sarcophagus reworked as the tomb of Pierre de Corneillan (1353–55); at the southeast corner, the finely carved royal arms of England (c. 1400) in grey, Lardos marble. The coats of arms (originally coloured) around the capitals of the seven central pillars are those of the Order and of the Grand Master Pierre d’Aubusson (1476–1503) under whom the building was completed and who himself was successfully healed of seemingly fatal wounds received during the siege of 1480 by the surgeons and doctors of the Hospital. To the south, the Infirmary communicates with a series of rooms which included a pharmacy, refectory, kitchens and other service areas. These contain elements of the Archaeological Collection, which for many is the main reason for visiting this 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

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