Welcome back to the Rhodes City section of this website, and today I want to tell you a little on The Ancient Rhodes City (or Town if you prefer to call it that).
Rhodes City has been in existence for around 2500 years. Originally developed in 408 BC, this came about from the three biggest towns joining together at that time. They are namely Kamiros, Ialysos and Lindos.
It was a plan put in place by the Dorians and at that time a famous architect by the name of Hippodamus from Miletus was behind the planning.
This development became a milestone on the island. The City was named Rhodes, and it was located in the same place you know the New Rhodes Town/City to stand today.
I have also mentioned this in brief on the Prehistory section.
The structure of The Ancient City was quite a similar one (although on a much smaller scale) that you would find in New York today (USA).
If you look at this in more depth, you will notice that there the layout is almost on a grid system. From the East side heading West you have 5th Avenue, 6th Avenue, 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue all running parallel to each other. Then at right angles to this you have West 29th Street, East 29th Street, West 28th Street, East 28th Street and so forth.
It sounds complicated for sure, but actually when I was in New York, it was one of the easiest places I have ever had to navigate around.
Look at the example below to see what I mean!
Now, this is an example of what I am talking about. It is not so important for you to analyze, but you can see that New York is set up on a grid like system, and this is a similar system that was used to develop The Ancient Rhodes. On the street map of Rhodes above you can clearly see this system in use.
If you look around Rhodes City as it is today, you will still see a lot of streets that are using this system. With more modern developments and changes that have taken place over the years though, you will also notice in some areas it has become quite chaotic! But that is another story 🙂
The Most Exquisite City
Over the years there has been a lot of research done when it comes to Rhodes. Archaeologists have dug deep in the past (and still do) and it has been discovered that Rhodes was one of the most exquisite and charming ancient cities of the archaic world.
When it comes to the ancient sites here, such as the ancient temples and other areas of interest, Rhodes has been offered very kind words from important ancient writers such as Lucian of Samosata and Philosopher and Historian Strabo!
They have described Rhodes as ‘the daughter of the sun’ and as a place that could never be compared to another.
One of the most notable features of Ancient Rhodes were the structures.
Some buildings were all the same (or very similar) and it has been said that when
looking onto the streets, it was like all the building were as one.
Almost as if it was one huge house that scaled the entire length of the street. A long way from the more modern detached properties you find today don’t you think?
Unfortunately over time, a lot of what once was has been lost. Rhodes has suffered immensely in years past with war, natural disasters such as earthquakes and the worst enemy of all – Time!
The Remaining Temple and Stadium
Just south of the main city of Rhodes you will encounter an area called Monte Smith. This area is named after Admiral William Sidney Smith who was an officer in the British Navy during the French Revolution. At the end of the 1700s Rhodes played a role in the battle, and reinforcements were sent from the island with the Turkish.
After a long battle, Napoleon was forced to retreat and he deserted his Army in Egypt and fled back to France.
On Monte Smith you will find The Ancient Temple Of Apollo which dates back as far as the 5th Century BC. At the bottom of this you will see the Ancient Stadium and Theater.
This area was hit heavily during World War 2 and suffered a lot of damage. Restoration work was carried out by the Italians in the middle of the 1940s and as of today the area is protected from any new structures being built.
This area of Monte Smith really takes you back in time, and the views from the top of the hill are simply breath taking. There is more information on The Hill of Monte Smith here!
It is one part of the island that really shows you the past, and I make the most of it, as a lot of The Ancient Rhodes was destroyed in the huge earthquake that took place in 227 BC. This is the same earthquake the brought down The Rhodes Colossus.
The city was rebuilt, but good luck was not on the table, and in AD 515 another massive earthquake completely destroyed Rhodes. The only thing left standing was the Medieval City.
Over the last centuries the New Town sits proudly where The Ancient City once stood.
For me it is a tragedy that a large percentage of the history was lost, but I am also very happy to see the Rhodes of today!
It still presents a lot of history and culture and there is something to learn on every corner. Although the New Town now stands proud, the Ancient City will never be forgotten!
Do you have something to share on this? Or do you have an opinion? Maybe you have visited Rhodes and have an experience you would like to share?
No matter the reason, I would love to hear from you all!
Thanks once again for visiting, and as always, there is more to come!