Wednesday 8 August 2018

Historic Rhodes

As you are no doubt aware I have been away on holiday with my family and this year we visited Rhodes. The island is packed full of history and of course I shot a warehouse full of photo's! One location I was particularly keen to see was the Fortress of Rhodes, which surrounds the old town. Rhodes is one of the gateways to the Aegean Sea and as such has an important strategic position for sea based power in the region. The Island has been inhabited since at least 4000 BCE but the town of Rhodes was not founded until 408 BCE when the three main towns on the island cooperated to build a new port on the northern tip of the island.

The fortifications of the town of Rhodes that are seen now were built by the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John starting in 1309 CE but were an enhancement of the existing Byzantine walls from the 3rd century BCE although the town had a defensive wall as early as the late 4th century BCE. Indeed it was these walls that enabled the occupants to resist the siege of Demetrius Poliorketes king of Macedonia, in 305 BC. It was this victory that inspired the building of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

The existing fortifications form a large crescent around the medieval town and harbour and are the most intact example of their kind; which is one of the reasons why it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Consisting of huge walls built on a man made escarpment with bastions, and a wide dry moat with counterscarp. Even today the fortifications look formidable.

By Aga Khan (IT) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

As usual I have taken an insane number of pictures and here is a selection of the best ones relevant to the Fortress and Old Town of Rhodes.

The Fortress of Rhodes and the Grand Master Palace as seen from out in the harbour

The Liberty Gate is one of the main access points for tourists.

The D'Amboise Gate is very well preserved and much quieter. A raised drawbridge would once have been in position here. 

Gate of St John is still accessible to pedestrians, mopeds and even the occasional small car. 

The Naillac Tower protects the outer walls and the Kolona Harbour 

The wide dry moat fully encompasses the landward portions of the 2.5km walls. 

The Palace of the Grand Master

Windmills on the Mandraki Harbour walls

Another shot of the wide moat and concentric rings of walls and towers that make this such a formidable fortress

The Grand Masters Palace. This building was restored between 1937-1940 while the island was under Italian rule. 

The interior is spectacular and includes a huge stone dedication from the architect of the restoration to Benito Mussolini for whom the Palace was restored as a holiday home (he never visited!)

The interiors are equally amazing and include mosaics and marbles from across the Doddecanese islands. 

Inside the walls is the Old Town...probably the best preserved medieval town in the whole of Europe. 

The Avenue of the Knights leads up towards the Palace of the Grand Master

Inside the Hospital of the Knights of St John (now the cities Archaeological Museum). The Hospital would have been able to provide state of the art - for the 15th century - medicine to pilgrims heading to or returning from the Holy Land. 

Inside the Great Hall hundreds of patients could have been tended too. The hospital was known for it's Hygiene and the quality of the medicine...all at a price of course. 

Elsewhere the old town is a mass of small streets filled with hundreds of traders and taverns. This is Socrates Street and is one of the main thoroughfares of the town leading up towards the Suleiman Mosque. 

Many of the smaller back alleys however are quite, narrow and look completely untouched by time. 
By the end of the holiday I had taken over 1500 photo's (even by my standards, utterly excessive!) but most of them seem to involve pictures of swimming, eating or drinking in various locations, so not relevant to this blog.  Like many of the Greek Islands, Rhodes is soaked in history from ancient times right up to WWII so the average wargamer will not have a problem finding something to keep him/herself interested...if you can get around in the high heat/humidity that is. 

So I'm back, if not entirely recovered from the journey. I'm still sorting through the rest of my pictures and if I come across anything interesting I'll share it but I'm guessing you won't want to see any pictures of me in my Speedo's!


  1. Did you go the Museum and see all the wonderful mosaic, the Italians pick up from all the surrounding islands?

    1. We saw lots in the Palace of the Grand Master.

  2. Marvelous travel photos, Lee! Can't imagine visiting in August. When is the cooler season?

  3. Very nice pictures! Glad you enjoyed yourself

    1. I enjoyed myself too much...didn't want to come home :(

  4. Great photos Lee, thanks for posting!

    1. Your welcome. To be honest we didn't do as much history as we normally do. It was way too hot & humid for major exertion and some of the places I had intended to visit, such as the Acropolis at Lindos, involved a long uphill climb. I took one look at that path up the side of the mountain and though "Nope. Not doin' that!"

  5. More and more wargamers, publish report like this one. It is realy nice for those who can't travel or others who can discover a new destination for a next trip !
    We try to do it but our pictures are not so good ! Bravo !
    If possible, can you tell Us the camera you use ? Or may be a good smartphone...
    Thanks for the visite Lee !
    We really appreciate it !

    1. Thanks. I recently bought a new Digital Compact, a Canon Powershot G5X. A bit expensive but the picture quality is almost as good as a full DSLR. It has a neat feature that (when turned on) automatically compensates for over or under exposed areas in high contrast pictures.

      I also shot a few photo's on my Moto G3 phone and on a Go-Pro sports camera while we were away but I don't think any of these photo's are in this post.

    2. Thanks for infos, my daughter have a PowerShot SX430 IS for birthday... We shot figures for Our Blog with it and it was really better than with Our Smartphone.
      Yes the G5X is expensive but pictures looks very good !

  6. Lovely - Rhodes is now on the bucket list..

  7. Great pics Lee, Rhodes is a beautiful place.

  8. Thanks again !
    We honor you here :


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