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The Old Town of Rhodes

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Published September 29th 2012
Visit Rhodes and see why so many others have been captivated
On our recent Mediterranean cruise we made a return visit to Rhodes, the largest island in the Dodecanese. It sits in the Aegean Sea and is geographically closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece, to which it belongs. Because of its location it has been conquered many times over the centuries; among the invaders were the Cretans, the Phoenicians and the Dorians. The Rhodians later allied themselves with Rome, but the fall of that city saw a fresh wave of conquerors including the Persians and the Saracens. The Crusader Knights of St John heavily fortified the island in the fourteenth century, and their walls are the first things you encounter when entering the harbour of Rhodes Town.

A Section of Rhodes Harbour Wall
A Section of Rhodes Harbour Wall


The Knights were forced to surrender the island to the Ottoman Turks in 1522 and Rhodes remained under Turkish rule until 1912 when the Italians invaded. Finally in 1945 the Dodecanese Islands united with Greece.

The two major towns visited by tourists are Lindos, with its crusader castle and maze of narrow winding medieval streets, and Rhodes Old Town. Unfortunately there was not enough time to visit the former on this visit, so we walked our feet off in Rhodes Town. The famous Colossus may no longer guard the harbour, but Mandraki harbour is guarded by two bronze deer, now the emblem of the town. Although the official religion is Greek Orthodox, the Mosque to Suleyman the Magnificent can still be viewed, as well as the restored synagogue that is close to the Memorial to the Jewish Martyrs of the Holocaust.

The Mosque to Suleyman the Magnificent
The Mosque to Suleyman the Magnificent


The Rhodians are friendly people, whose 60,000 inhabitants are swelled by tourists during the season. Rhodes Town is also full of stray cats, that are as amiable as the locals,

Peeping Tom
Peeping Tom


and my husband was surprised by a red parrot nibbling away at his shoulder.

You can spend your time eating and drinking in one of the many bars and tavernas, all of which offer free WiFi.

Alternatively you could browse the shops and spend your money on jewellery and leather goods, or you could steep yourself in the history of the island and visit the Palace of the Grand Masters or walk around the medieval walls.

A Section of the Walls Built by the Crusaders
A Section of the Walls Built by the Crusaders


If none of the above appeal, just find yourself a sandy beach and cool off in the blue waters of the Aegean.

Leaving Rhodes Harbour
Leaving Rhodes Harbour

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Why? Because it's a beautiful island
When: Whenever you fancy
Where: In the Mediterranean
Cost: That's up to you
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