Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Medieval City of Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes was our stop for today. It is the fourth largest Greek island and is known for its medieval old town, sandy beaches and lush mountains. It’s really closer to Turkey than Greece.

I was feeling much better today. Whatever bug I had, it only lasted a day and I was ready to go again. Once we docked, the tender boats were out for some kind of drill. Looked like they were playing Follow the Leader.

From the ship, we could see the wall going around the Old City.

While we were on the upper deck of the ship, we did a little exploring. We’ve been so busy with tours, we've hardly had a chance to look around. Jim found a new friend.

The ship is beautiful. This glass piece on the ceiling looked like a Chihuly or a nice replica.

Back to our cabin before heading out. The cabin is nicely laid out and has lots of storage space which is great.

Welcome to Rhodes! It says “Voted top destination of Europe. 5th in the World.” Hmmm…OK!

We didn’t have a tour planned for today and there were lots of taxi drivers trying to get our business. But they had a Hop On, Hop Off bus, so we decided to do that instead. They are usually a great way to get a view of the city and you can get off and back on wherever you wish. This one cost 9 Euros each, which we thought was a bargain. It became apparent that you get what you pay for! By the time we got to this stop, we figured out that most of the ear phones didn’t work and they weren’t saying much anyway. At this stop they said “Here is a castle with a moat.” Too funny!

This was some sort of stadium...we really weren't getting a whole lot of information.

The bus had now taken us outside the Old City. On the hill were the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. It was built around 400 BC and was badly damaged by bombing in WWII.

Superb views of the city below.

We passed by this school with all the kids out playing. By now we realized this tour wasn't big on information, but we decided to stick it out until we got back to the Old City. It was a nice day for a bus ride!

The newer part of the city was nice and clean.

This was fascinating. The entrance to the port now has two bronze deer on top of these columns, but in ancient times this is believed to have held the Colossus of Rhodes.

The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. It was built to commemorate the victory of the island after a one-year siege by Demetrios. It was a bronze statue 90 feet high and it took 12 years to complete! It was toppled by an earthquake in 227 BC after guarding the harbour entrance for 56 years. Seriously! How did they do this stuff? It might have looked something like this. There is now doubt, not that it existed, but that it was at the entrance to the harbour.

The bus was now heading back into the Old City and our quickie tour was over.

This seemed like a perfect place to hop off and walk around.

We started off in what we think was the town square. Look at the cobblestone streets…

And the gelato cute!

And the ever present dogs…

Shops upon shops. There were lots of tourists, but not many people inside the shops.

This church was converted to a mosque after the Turks conquered Rhodes in the 1500s.

There are over 200 streets, most with no names, so it isn't hard to get lost.

Guess what I found!

And then to the Street of the Knights for which Rhodes is famous.The Knights began as Benedictine monks in Jerusalem. In 600 AD Pope Gregory commissioned a hospital in Jerusalem to treat and care for Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. After the original hospital was destroyed, a new larger one was built on the site of the monastery of St. John the Baptist. The caring for pilgrims evolved into providing armed escort, which soon grew into a substantial military force. The military brothers became very powerful and were known as the Knights of the Order of St. John.

In 1291, the rising power of Islam eventually expelled the Knights from Jerusalem. After a short stop in Cyprus, the Knights captured Rhodes in 1309. Using their immense wealth they built most of the Old City you see today, and the wall around the city. The Knights were divided into eight "tongues" or groups depending on where they had originated from.

Kim with a knight…

On the Street of the Knights, each tongue had its own residence and responsibilities for defending a portion of the island. The architecture of each residence was unique to the country from which they came.

Fantastic passageway built above the street…

There were little streets leading off everywhere…

This is now the Consulate of France…

Statues in the niches…

Interesting serpents…

This gate had a cross in it and we could see a fountain beyond…

And then we were back in the city square. There were no lack of restaurants and shops. We did buy a pretty tablecloth.

This little guy was making a fortune! Who can resist a little boy with a dog…and an accordion!

Remains of the Church of the Virgin of the was built in the 14th century and partially destroyed by bombs in WWII.

Leaving the walls of the City…

Along the backs of the shops facing the streets. They were shops in the olden times and still remain so today.

Leaving Rhodes…it was a nice relaxing day!

Tomorrow it's back to Turkey, as we head into the port of Marmaris...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for an interesting day and an insight into what we should do on our one day at Rhodes.