If you ever get the opportunity to visit the island you will see that most Rhodes architecture varies from place to place. Why is this do you think?
One dwelling can be very different in appearance and structure from another, and another, and another!
This is because over the centuries and different time periods, the island has been under the influence of many different cultures. Think about the people that have been and gone that conquered the island in the past, and the influences they have left.
The Ottoman Empire certainly left their mark here on the island, as did The Order Of The Knights Of Saint John! Let’s not forget the Italian presence here in the war and the changes they made too.
From the ancient buildings that still stand today, right up until the more modern structures, there is a lot to see and appreciate and the differences in architecture are clearly visible.
The Byzantine Empire
Some of the much older byzantine architecture still stands today.
If you visit the old city then you will be able to see some of these structures as well as the fortress walls.
The Old City was built in such a way that it presented two sections. The Upper Town and the Lower Town. The Upper Town is known today as ‘The Collachium’ and the Lower Town is referred to as ‘Chora’.
In these areas you will find old structures such as the Church Of Saint Mary built in the 13th Century and the famous Clock Tower which is located in the north-west of The Collachium.
There are many other structures and a lot of them are churches, but I promise you, all of them are worth seeing.
One of the major influences that you will see from The Medieval City are its huge walls. These were built in the Byzantium period, but The Order Of The Knights Of Saint John made a lot of repairs to this when they first arrived on the island.
Also, inside the Old Medieval City you can still clearly see the Coats Of Arms
engraved into the structures that were built by The Knights. Let’s not forget the beauty of the Palace Of The Grand Masters too and the amazing Street Of The Knights that leads up to it 🙂
You can also still witness the city’s amazing gates and palaces which still stand strong as well as some of the churches.
This truly is an amazing place and you will really appreciate the architecture in this location.
During the times of The Knights there was also a huge Jewish presence on the island. Various locations mark the history they had here. There is also a Jewish Museum and Synagogue in place for you to appreciate.
In 1943 the island was under the control of the Germans, and soon after most of the Jewish people were taken away to Auschwitz. Not many survived, and today there are only a small amount of Jewish people residing on the island!
The Ottoman Rule
The rule of the Ottoman Empire also left its mark on the island of Rhodes. The Suleiman Mosque in The Old Town is a perfect example of this. This mosque was built in honor of the Sultan after he was able to conquer Rhodes in 1522.
Also, opposite this mosque is a Muslim library which contains rare narrations written in Turkish. It is said that even a document is housed there which details the Ottoman Empire’s siege of Rhodes.
These are located at the top of Socrates Street in the Medieval City and they really highlight the Turkish architecture.
You will also find Turkish baths and mansions which were built here during their reign.
The occupation of the Italians also left a huge mark here on the island of Rhodes.
If you take a stroll down the area of Mandraki Harbor on the north of the island you
will see lots of Italian structures which are still in use today!
The Church Of Saint Francisco, The Bank Of Greece and The Courthouse Building (and others) are all of Italian architecture. Also, they embarked on a program of restoration and brought up to date and repaired structures such as the Palace Of The Grand Masters and the Filerimos Monastery.
A lot of structures that were put in place by the previous occupants (The Ottoman Empire) were taken away.
A lot of credit goes to The Italians in the way of architecture, as some of the older structures would not be here today if it was not for the efforts of the restoration work carried out during their stay on the island.
As you can see I have touched on the different occupations here in Rhodes and some of the marks they have left in the way of architecture.
As I start to expand and talk about the sites, I will of course go a little more in depth. I hope this serves as a small taste though 🙂
Have you seen some of these structures I am talking about? Perhaps you have been here already and walked through the ancient streets?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Just leave me a comment below if you have something to share or if you have any questions. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!
Thanks for the introduction to the architecture of your island Chris.
I am looking into doing a quick stopover (2 days max) on my way back from a business trip.
As far as architecture goes though my main interests are castles and cathedrals.
How can I go about planning ahead to see a list of castles and cathedrals to visit? I don’t want to waste a minute once I get there working out where to do.
Well to be honest the architecture and ancient castles and churches here are in their many, and I will be honest and tell you that you will struggle to see them all in a couple of days.
However, if you look through this site you will see the important ones.
I have put a list here with the links to the information.
I hope this helps you.
The Medieval City Of Rhodes
Lindos And The Acropolis
That’s quite a clash of cultures visiting the island.
I enjoyed reading and learned a lot about The Island Of Rhodes architecture. I read about it a little in school, but never thought about visiting.
I would like to see these beautiful historical structures. Which culture do you think influenced Rhodes architecture the most?
Hey Jason, well I have to say that is a great question and a really difficult one to answer!
When it comes to the different architecture that can be found today on the island of Rhodes, it has all been created because of different cultures that have dominated the island, war and conflict and other reasons in years gone by!
The Knights Of Saint John have really left their mark since they were forced to surrender to Suleiman The Magnificent. The Medieval City itself and Grand Masters Palace are both fine examples of what The Knights Order achieved here, Lets not forget the castles of Monolithos and Kritinia too.
Although The Ottoman Empire took control from The Knights, they too left their mark on the island during their stay. You can see examples of this, such as The Suleiman Mosque which is located in the old city of Rhodes.
A lot of the architecture that was developed by The Turkish was actually destroyed once The Italian Forces came to power. From here The Italians really left their stamp. A lot of what you see today was redeveloped and in some instances rebuilt completely by The Italians.
When it comes to influence, I cannot answer. I just believe that all the past conflicts, events and occupations have left Rhodes the way it is today. If you are asking me for a favorite, I will say The Knights Of Saint John!
Thanks Jason and I hope my point of view answers your question!
This is great article and very interesting.
I’d love to have the opportunity to visit the island of Rhodes. It looks like a wonderful place, and as a bit of a history buff, I think it would suit me down to the ground.
Honestly, I really do plan to visit within two years for a Christmas break or maybe a Spring break. So this is great information for the planning stage.
I’d like to say you have a great review here, but I have a question. What is the weather like in Greece in between December and March?
Hi there James, great to hear from you my friend.
If you choose to visit the island of Rhodes in the winter months you will be happy to know you can still see the sites.
If you love the history then I think you would really enjoy seeing some of these places when it is out of the tourist season and quiet.
I remember a couple of years ago, I went to see The Medieval City. It was actually after Christmas, in January. I was the only one there 🙂 It was so quiet, and I promise you – you can smell and taste the history when it is like this. It is great to see too when it is full, there is a great atmosphere, but to witness it empty was breathtaking.
The winter months here do get a little colder. The temperatures can drop to 5 or 6 degrees Celsius, but never below the freeing point. I am thankful for that, I am not a lover of the cold 🙂
I have made a page all about The Climate Of Rhodes here. Take a look and it will offer you more information.
Hope this helps you out James.
I never really looked into visiting this area or even Greece at all but seeing this absolutely has me wanting to take a visit there.
I think this would be fun to learn about how the buildings there are structured like the church of Saint Mary and the fortress walls. The street of the Knights looks incredible as well as the structures that the Italians have built.
I could definitely see why others would want to visit this area and learn about the history of the structures here. If I had the opportunity to visit this area, I definitely not pass it up.
Hey Arie, really great to hear from you.
Every year millions of people visit Rhodes and Rhodes alone. As for Greece, well I would not like to hazard a guess of how many people travel to see the country. Million upon millions for sure.
They come from all over the world to soak up the sun, the history and the culture. It really is an amazing place and one you should visit if you ever have the chance.
Where are you from?
If you like history, old ruins and great culture then I think you would really enjoy it here. It offers everything. You can do your site-seeing, you can enjoy the restaurants, the night life and of course the beautiful warm weather. There is never a boring moment I promise you 🙂
If you ever make plans feel free to let me know and I will happily offer you the best advice!
Thanks Arie, I appreciate your comment and your interest and your visit!
Thank you for sharing the history of the Rhodes Architecture, tracing its origins back to the Byzantine Empire period.
I felt like I have now visited the place upon reading your walk-through post. I was just wondering based on your post, how big is the place? It certainly entices me to go for a visit.
Hello Ming and thanks for your interest and for your question.
The Island Of Rhodes is actually shaped (in some people’s opinions) like the head of a spear.
From the North of the island all the way to the South it covers a distance of approximately 80 Kilometers. At the widest point of the island, from East to West it distances at 38 Kilometers. All together Rhodes covers approximately 1400 Square Kilometers.
If you visit The Island Of Rhodes page it will offer you some more information.
Thanks Ming, I appreciate your visit and if you need something more feel free to let me know!
I find this site really informative and educating.
I am impressed with the way the broke down the roles played by the Italians, Byzantine Empire and the Knights in structuring the current architecture of Greece, really eye opening.
Now I can gladly say I know a bit more than I did before.
Hi there Excelle, nice to hear from you and it is of course great to learn that you enjoyed your visit here.
You know, a lot of people visit the island of Rhodes, and a lot of people leave again knowing little more than they did before they arrived. Hey, that’s OK, some people like to visit for the sun and the beach and are quite happy relaxing.
What I wanted to do here was offer a resource for people that are interested in learning a little more. With this in mind, I hope it also tempts some of those to have a day off the beach and see and learn a little something too 🙂
I have lived here on the island many years, and I still see and learn new things. The history is vast, but it is exciting, so why miss it?
You learning something from your visit today is great news for me.
Thanks Excelle, and please come back again soon!
Absolutely excellent work Chris.
It is not a subject that I usually would readily study anymore, but I can remember when I was in grade school and I wanted to be an architect.
This is a beautiful view of history and really hits home with me. Thanks for this.
How long have you been interested in the subject of architecture? I’m just curious to know.
Hey Michelle, thanks so much for taking the time to have a read 🙂
To be honest… I am not what you would call a lover of architecture so to speak. But I do appreciate what I see. If you ask me about architecture, and what it is all about, I would probably have no clue where to start (although I would try) 🙂
I suppose it is like asking me to write a song, I cant, but I love music.. you know.
When it comes to the architecture here though, which stands out so much because of the ancient structures, it really does hit home. Some of the buildings I see here are like nothing I have ever seen before, anywhere else. They ooze history and talent, and I really do appreciate that!
I have one friend who is from the UK, and by trade he is an architect (a very underrated career these days according to him) and he was completely mesmerized by what he saw here.
If you have a little background in the subject, and you had the chance to visit Rhodes (or Greece in general for that matter) you would see what I mean 🙂
Thanks Michelle, really great to hear from you!
Thanks for sharing one more great article about Rhodes! This time, one of my favorites, architecture!!
Architecture is one more of the arts, how delightful it is to visit a place with great architecture, and by the way you describe Rhodes, I’m sure it might be like visiting a magical place!
Reading your article was like taking me there and we made a tour together.
One more reason to keep working hard and save enough to be able one day to visit Rhodes.
Hey there again Alejandra, I hope you are fine. It is great to see you here once more
There are places on the island of Rhodes that are quite magical, I love it here. Wherever you go, you see something new, interesting and different. Not only that, each time you go back to the same place, you see something you did not notice before.
Some of the architecture here is breathtaking, it really is. If you go into The Medieval City for example, the stonework, the arches and the structures really do take you back in time. If you see it in the winter, when it is quiet, you can feel the history, and you can imagine the days of old. The atmosphere touches you and you can hear the echoes of your own voice in certain areas.
Whenever you manage to arrange a visit, let me know, and we will make the tour together as you imagined
Thanks Alejandra! Great to hear from you.
Beautiful is the first word that comes to my mind.
I keep coming back to your website, as I am planning my trip and you just keep adding more great information!
Oh how the Old Medieval City would be nice to just walk around in and absorb all of the history. Are there a lot of castles here like you would see in Europe?
Hey Leahrae, great to have you back 🙂
When it comes to castles, there are not so many here. Not what you would consider a standard castle anyway.
Where I am from there are many, and also when I have toured Europe, there have been some amazing castles that I have visited.
Here, there are castles on the west coast, namely Kritina Castle and Monolithos Castle.
These castles were strategic locations for the Knights Of Saint John during their occupation here. They were built in the 16th century.
Kritinia Castle stand on the top of a 130 meter high rock and offers some magnificent views out across the Aegean Sea and neighboring islands. A Must see. I will be writing some material soon covering the west coast, so I will include the castles here.
Let’s not forget the amazing Acropolis in Lindos too. All coming soon 🙂
Fascinating article and very insightful.
As a photographer, this kind of location with it’s rich history and variety of architecture excites me and I can’t wait to visit.
In particular the Italian influence interests me but it is a pity that they removed some of the Ottoman era buildings.
Well written article and I look forward to seeing it with my own eyes to capture come of the history in person!
Well Keith, you are busy today looking around the site, this is the 3rd comment from you in only a few minutes 🙂 Thanks!
Yeah it is a shame that a lot of the history was taken away, you can sit here thinking – hhmmm what if? 🙂 but hey that is history I guess.
On saying that, the Italians have to take a lot of credit too, as if it was not for them, the structures we have here now may have also fallen. So, one one hand it is bad, but on the other they have done wonderful things.
Let’s hope you get here soon with your camera and experience it all for yourself 🙂
Many Thanks Keith
Awesome article – I loved the descriptions and pictures of all the architecture.
Greece is a place I want to visit when I begin traveling in the near future, and I hadn’t been sure of where to start, but I think I do now 🙂
I’ll also love having this as a reference for the history behind everything.
Hi Bobby and thanks for your interest and for your kind words for the work I am doing here. It is always good to know it is appreciated 🙂
Greece as a whole is well worth a visit. The history, culture, weather and food make it all a great recipe for an even greater holiday, so i recommend you do it 🙂
Rhodes does have some amazing sites (as do other places in Greece) and the architecture has me in awe every time I go out of my door.
If you ever get to visit you are welcome to use my information on this site as a reference, and of course if there is something you need I am only a message away.
Contact me anytime Bobby!
I consider myself a bit of a history buff. Although not as much as some out there.
I found this absolutely fascinating. I’ll need to add it to my list of places I want to travel to.
When is the best time of year to go? And when is it least busy with tourists?
Hi there Trent and thanks for your comment and of course for your question too.
I am not what you can call a history buff at all. I like it and I respect it, but do not think I would be ever able to call myself an expert. Far from it. As you say, there are some real historians out there that will take some beating 🙂
I am of course happy you liked the information here and will consider Rhodes a place to visit in the future. If you do get around to making some solid plans let me know and I will help you out where I can!
As for the time of year to travel here, it depends on weather and what volume of tourists you like to experience. If you prefer it with less people then you are better coming from the end of April until early May. The weather is nice and not too hot and you avoid the crowds.
Into October also allows you a little space too, as again the summer season is coming to a close at this time, so it is more quiet and you will take the same weather as May.
There is more on The Climate Of Rhodes here too and if you look at the comments section I have also answered a few questions on ‘the best time to come’ :), I hope this helps!
Thanks Trent 🙂
I’ve never been to Rhodes, honestly I’ve never even thought about going, but I love architecture and after reading your article I might just put it on my bucket list. I had no idea that there were so many architectural influences contained on one island with so much of it still standing.
I was especially interested when you touched on the Ottoman Empire period. I love this type of architecture and the idea that you could go and see some of the old Turkish bath houses and mansions really sounds exciting.
Question, if you could only go to one place on the Island of Rhodes (only see one point of architecture) what would it be?
Obviously you would never do that, I’m just wondering which you find the most impressive.
Hi there and thanks for getting in touch!
Yes, the architecture is quite exquisite and if you are partial to the Ottoman Empire period then there will be a lot here to take your fancy for sure.
In all honesty, there is so much in the way of history and the architecture that it would be almost impossible to see it all.
I live not too far away from The Medieval City and have been hundreds of times. But every time I visit I see something missed the the times before. A fantastic place. Also in the Old City you will see a lot in the way of Turkish houses and mansions.
And WOW, to answer your question. It is a tough one. I guess it is hard to put down only one place, but if I were to be allowed to see only one, then for sure the Ancient City Of Kameiros would be right up there!
Can I see a little more though? Please? 🙂
Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it!
Such stunning architecture and beauty! This article is informative and interesting, too. Thanks!
Thanks so much for taking a look and appreciating the architecture here 🙂
I am happy it hit the right spot with you.
There is a lot to see in Rhodes, and moving forward I will be adding a lot more, so be sure to come back and look when you can!
What a fascinating article – thanks so much for this.
Rhodes has never been a place high on my bucket list for visiting, but you may just have changed all of that.
It genuinely sounds like a seriously interesting place to tour.
How long a trip do you think it wise to book to really have an opportunity to visit the main sites of interest and soak up the atmosphere?
Hey Al, thanks for reading.
I will tell you that a lot of people do not have Rhodes high up on their lists of places to visit. Hey, some people have never heard of it at all. But it really is the most amazing place.
There is a lot of interesting places to visit and there is so much to do to fill your time.
A lot of people do come for just one week, and they see what they want to see. The only problem is, one week goes very fast.
If you want to take full advantage of Rhodes it is better to try and make a two week vacation. In this time you can pretty much see everything at a nice pace and without rushing around!
Thanks Al 🙂