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!
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