You will remember that I touched briefly on Chora And Bourgo on The Medieval City In Rhodes page, and here I would like to go a little deeper into what it is all about.
The Medieval Town was actually constructed into two different sections.
The Northern Section – also called the Collachium, and the Southern Section which is referred to as “Chora”.
In the days of The Knights Of Saint John, they called this southern section “Bourgo”.
Hence the name Chora And Bourgo.
The Collachium was (and still is) predominant for The Palace Of The Grand Masters and the churches of the Knights order.
The Chora section was used to home the Greek people and any other people from various nations who worked and resided in the Medieval Town.
The famous Socrates Street separates the two sections as it runs right through the middle of the city.
Just off this street you will find Lachitos Street, which was the only place communication was permitted between the two sections in the olden days.
Chora And Bourgo – The Suleiman Mosque
One of the most important and famous locations within the Chora Section is the Suleiman Mosque.
It was constructed in 1522 to celebrate the victory of the Ottoman Empire over The Knights Of Saint John.
Also, called Suleiman The Magnificent; he was the 10th appointed Sultan of the Turkish Rule (The Ottoman Empire) from 1520 until he died in 1566.
The Mosque Of Suleiman is located at the top of Socrates Street and it went under renovation work in 1808.
The massive pink-colored dome roof makes this structure easily identifiable.
During the Knights’ reign, many churches transformed into Mosques, while the Ottoman Empire built others from scratch.
However, many of these structures have been demolished as the Italian Forces implemented numerous changes and renovations during their campaign here.
Additionally, in the vicinity of the Mosque, you will discover the Muslim Library and the Turkish Baths.
If you leave the Suleiman Mosque and head down the hill on Socrates Street you will find yourself in Ippokratous Square.
Along the way you will find all the street is packed with people and places to buy food and souvenirs.
As you enter the square you will see the Ippokratous Fountain which is of Turkish design standing in the middle of the square.
It has running water and it is quite a hot spot for people to stop, take photographs and have a snack from one of the nearby vendors.
As you look around you will see some huge stone steps where people sit and pass the time.
I am sure not many of them know that this place was of high importance during the days of the Knights.
These steps are part of a structure called ‘Castellania’ and it was constructed in 1597.
The lower floor was a place where local vendors did their trade, and the upper floor was utilized as a courtroom.
I am sure a lot of heated debates were carried out here 🙂
Chora And Bourgo – Marine Gate
Just around the corner from this you will see the huge Marine Gate.
This is one of the eleven gates into the Medieval City and probably the most famous simply due to its size and beauty.
It was a stronghold of the city in years past too.
Being located close to the waterfront, both historically and presently, opposing forces viewed it as an impossible point to launch an effective attack from.
As history has it, at one point the water came right up to the gate!
The huge round towers of The Marine Gate make it very noticeable and again, it is a very popular area with tourism as you can capture some amazing photographs here.
See The Video For A Pleasant Look At The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter
If you head along Aristotelous Street it will take you away from Ippokratous Square in the direction of the Jewish Quarter.
Here in the square of The Jewish Martyrs you will see another amazing fountain.
On the fountain, three seahorses stand proudly at the top, while the exterior is adorned with tiles depicting these seahorses and other sea creatures, including octopuses.
All around you will see outlets selling souvenirs and food, and these shops are occupying some of the old structures of the Old Town.
Here you will also find The Palace Of The Admirals.
This is a structure from the 15th century, and was also home to the Archbishop Of Rhodes before the Ottoman Empire took control in 1522.
Chora And Bourgo – Our Lady Of Chora
As you progress further, heading away from the Jewish Martyr Square and working your way around the east edge of the Old City, you will see the amazing ruins of Our Lady Of Chora.
This is an old Catholic Church and was the biggest in all of Rhodes in its time (constructed in the early 15th century).
The construction of the church is on both sides of the street.
I just want to reiterate here, that the Old Medieval Town Of Rhodes is a huge place, and for me to sit here and write about every aspect of it would take me a lifetime.
I hope though this gives you a taste of the city’s Southern Section. Of course, if you have any questions or need more information, feel free to ask me 🙂
Leave me a comment below with reference to Chora And Bourgo and I will get right back to you.
I would also love to hear from anyone out there that has been to this beautiful setting.
I am sure some of you would not mind sharing your experience.