Rhodes, with many loyal friends all over the world, the meeting point of three civilizations, is the cosmopolitan of the Dodecanese, which throbs with life even during offseason. Its geographical location has played an important role in this, as ,well as its enviable sunlight. Besides, it is not accidental that myth wants it to be the island of the god Sun. "From the deep water, the island of Rhodes bloomed, a child of Aphrodite, goddess of love, to become the Sun's bride': That is how the ancient poet Pindaros describes Rhodes, a description corresponding to the aura the island gives off.

Built at the northern part of the island, the city of Rhodes exudes simultaneously an aroma of the East and West. It is world-wide famous for the Medieval City. In 1988, the Medieval City was acknowledged as a City of World Cultural Heritage. The Medieval City is a mixture of different architectures from different historical periods, with dominating period that of when the Knightly Order of St. John was on the island and also that of the Ottomans. Today, it is a living part of the modern city, where many commercial, tourist and recreational activities develop, while it also includes residential areas. It is inhabited by 6000 people, who live and work within the same buildings where St. John's knights lived 6 centuries ago.

The most characteristic street is that of the Knights, where the visitors walk there, they believe that a knight on his horse will appear right in front of them. Crossing the famous Avenue of the Knights one reaches the highest point of the Castle of the Knights. That is where the palace of the Great Magistrate stands dominating, and one can visit its impressive halls with furniture and other articles of that time.

At the Argyrokastro square stands one of the most beautiful and older buildings of the Medieval City the old arsenal of the Knights- which today houses the Folklore Museum. One can admire old time exhibits there, like the rhoditic sperveri, the hand-made curtain made of amianthus and silk that covered the bridal bed, rhoditic and Byzantine plates, local costumes, furniture and other articles of the rhoditic house. At the Museum square there are the quarters of the Language of England, which today houses the Archeological museum. After the guided tour of the Castello, St. Mary the Virgin of the Castle and the squares of the old city, it is the turn of the long market with Suleiman's mosque and further down the old Turkish neighborhood. After such a journey in time, we leave the medieval city and go towards the port, to see the castle and the three medieval wind-mills. As for the two deer, male and female, the island's symbols, they stand imperiously at the port's entrance, where once stood the Colossos! Near the harbor, where many places for eating and recreation have been developed, there are impressive buildings of other eras, that are used today for daily needs and transactions of local people and visitors. Such buildings are the Hall of Justice, Government (Prefecture) Hall, Town Hall, Port-Authority, Post-Office, the Bank of Greece, Akteon, the New Market National Theater and the hotel of the Roses, after its restoration, it houses the Casino since April 1998.

Next to the Government Hall, there is the church of Evangelismos (Annunciation), which initially was a catholic church dedicated to St John. Across the street from the National Theater there is the mosque of Murat-Reis, while one can see other buildings of that period in the greater area of Niochori. Such buildings are the Teacher's Academy of Rhodes, Orphanage for girls, Hospital, etc. In the greater area of Niochori and the most northern part of the city there is the famous aquarium the First Hydro-biological Station of Rhodes, which apart from being a center where scientists work out different projects, it is also an exhibition area. One may see there rare species of fish and other species of the sea fauna, while its under-water part is quite impressive, where in special extensions one may see the whole wealth of sea-life. Other well known neighborhoods are Mandraki, which reminds of Italy and Rodini, a small valley within the city, with plenty of water and rich vegetation of plane trees, oleanders, willow-trees and many other trees and bushes. It operates as a park and has a cafeteria. Rodini was a park even during the Turkish domination and during the knight period there was the mansion of the Great Magistrates in it.

OVER RODINI, at the location Pefkakia, there is a family tomb, which was named the tomb of Ptolemy, as there is a legend that says that it was dedicated to Ptolemy I. Finally, it must be noted that the necropolis of Rhodes is in this area (4th-3rd century B.C.), which reaches up to Phaneromeni and Karakonero. There one may see tomb complexes with Dionysian figures engraved on the rocks. In the area of Agios Stephanos (Monte Smith) there is the Ancient Acropolis of Rhodes.
At the Acropolis, one may see the remains of the temple of Pallada Athina and Poliea Zeus, while lower down there is the ancient stadium, built in the 2nd century B.C.. Next to the ancient stadium there is the ancient Conservatory, while in the same area there are peculiar caves, that were the worshipping temples of the Nymphs. Although Rhodes gets the majority of visitors in the winter, due to its large ultra-modern and luxurious hotel complexes, there are also other sights one may see all over the island. Some of them are the valleys of the Butterflies and the Seven Springs, as well as the beautiful forests on the whole island, where deer, the symbols of Rhodes, find shelter there. Many Byzantine churches with elaborate frescos are scattered in the area. Of course, as the island is considered to have been inhabited at the end of the Neolithic period (4000 B.C.), there are remains of ancient cities and settlements, among which are the three big cities of the island, lalysos, Kamiros and Lindos. Today, as there are over 100,000 people living permanently on the island of Rhodes, about 60.000 of them in the city, there are many artistic and cultural events being organized almost daily, throughout winter. Besides, the city is full of shopping centers with a satisfactory market, which covers the needs of local people and visitors.

(Posted originally March 2006; reformatted February 2007)

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