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Reviewed on 24 Sep 2019
Top things to do in Rhodes
The ruins of ancient civilizations stand at every turn in the namesake city on the spectacular Greek island of Rhodes, where the modern and the historic blend seamlessly together. With a history that stretches back some 2,550 years, Rhodes City manages to combine a modern cosmopolitan feel with some of the finest ancient ruins in all of Greece. Explore its famous civilizations and fascinating past while relaxing in luxury hotels and sampling its stylish restaurants, bars and nightlife.
Rhodes was founded in 407 B.C. and quickly developed into one of the most important trading ports in the Mediterranean. It was occupied by the Knights of St. John, the Ottoman Turks and the fascist Italian regime before becoming a part of Greece in 1948 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Start by wandering about the atmospheric Old Town. Enter through the Gate of Freedom, walk along the cobbled Street of the Knights and pass beneath archways and between stone buildings. Look for domed Turkish mosques, turreted walls, bastions, old houses and fountains. Museum Square is the place to go to learn more about the history. The Hospital of the Knights houses the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes and, across the road, the Church of Our Lady of the Castle is home to the Byzantine Museum.
Don’t miss the imposing Byzantine Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, perhaps the most significant structure in the Old Town. Erected in the seventh century, this fortress became the headquarters for the administration of the Knights of the Grand Order.
Venture outside the Old Town to find Venetian and neoclassical buildings, such as the Evangelismos Church (Annunciation Church), Town Hall, Central Post Office, Government House and the Rhodes National Theatre. For a taste of local food, browse the stalls at the New Market, then meander along the nearby Mandraki Port and Murat Reis Mosque. Cruises depart from the harbour and offer views of medieval city skyline in which steeples and domed Turkish mosques stand side by side.
Walk among the trees in Rodini Park, where famous Romans such as Brutus, Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar studied. On St. Stefanos Hill are the remains of the Temple of Apollo and other significant Hellenistic ruins.
Rhodes City is an archaeological treasure trove. To get here, fly into the international airport or take the ferry from Piraeus.