© Nicholas Mastoras

The city of knights

The City of Knights

When in Rhodes you’ll discover that, in addition to the sun and sea, there’s a vibrant medieval city to explore. Adventure begins at the high walls with elaborate bastions and imposing towers. No, it’s not a Hollywood movie set, but rather a city with a 2,400 year-old history and the signs to prove it. For this city, it was the knightly orders and conflicts of the Middle Ages that left indelible marks on Rhodes and her people. The Castle of Rhodes has no less than 11 entrance gates to choose from. The Thalassini Gate (Sea Gate) is the main entrance. However, if you’re in search of a more historical access point, go to the small Arnaldou Gate. In the 14th century, knights injured in combat passed under this gate and into the hands of The Hospitallers. What used to be the order’s hospital is now the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes.

The City of Knights

Within the walls, your chances of having a magical time are favourable; wander the city’s 200 cobbled alleys, exchange pleasantries with the residents, admire the beautiful balconies overhead, and discover gardens overflowing with flowers and climbing vines. Still, you will not have seen anything until you walk the Street of Knights leading to the doorstep of the Palace of the Grand Master, Castello. Candles that for centuries have lit the inside, still burn brightly, casting their mystical light on ornate mosaics, marble statues, and medieval graves.

The City of Knights

Today, the castle grounds are an eclectic mix of shops, cafés, restaurants, bars, boutique hotels and religious temples. Café Auvergne has its own stunning courtyard, and there are others just like it. Angela Castle, an open-air restaurant, is decorated in period decor (think suits of armour, shields and swords), and serves fresh fish. Macao bar will have you dancing until the wee-hours. Feel like spending the night? There are dozens of boutique hotels. Their high-ceilinged ground floors used to accommodate warhorses resting from battles. When the time comes to depart, make your way to the port’s entrance where two bronze deer are posed, gazing at the sea. Legend has it that, on this ground stood the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Close your eyes, spread your arms and let the sea breeze wash over you. Your experience inside the medieval city may feel like a fairytale, but all of it is absolutely true.


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