This tour is for people who are interested in mediaeval military history and architecture. You will be taken to the most important gates of the Medieval City. Each has its own unique history. Then you will be driven out of town to sites that contain mediaeval castles, towers, forts and monasteries. You can try on your "inner Knight" and explore what life was like when the Knights of St John ruled the island.
From your selected point, you'll be driven to the Medieval City and its most important Gates.
The Marine Gate or Sea Gate was the main entrance to the town from the harbour. Its defensive towers are more for show than defense. Due to the narrow space between the waterfront and the walls, no army could ever have attempted an attack from this side of the fortifications. (Stop Pictures)
The (first) Hospital of the Knights of St John, (now houses the library of the Archaeological Institute and the Museum of Popular Art) (Stop Pictures)
Our Lady of the Castel - Virgin of the Fort - Panagia tou Kastrou, is a thirteen century Byzantine church. In 1309 the island was conquered by the Order of the Knights of St. John and the church was converted into a Gothic three-aisled basilica with a transept and became the Catholic cathedral of the island. In 1522 the Ottoman Turks occupied Rhodes and the church of Panagia was once more converted, this time into a mosque, called the Kadouri Tzami. The additions of the Ottoman era were removed during the Italian occupation (1912-1947) and the building was subsequently conserved by the Greek Archaeological Service. Since 1988, the church of the Panayia tou Kastrou houses the Byzantine Art Museum of Rhodes (Stop Pictures)
The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, the (second) Hospital of the Knights of St John (Stop Pictures)
The Street of the Knights, the main street of Collachio - Castel (Stop Visit Pictures)
The Palace of the Grand Master, was a citadel of the Knights Hospitallers that functioned as a palace, headquarters and fortress. The palace was originally built in the late 7th century as a Byzantine citadel. After the Knights Hospitallers occupied Rhodes in 1309, they converted the fortress into their administrative centre and the palace of their Grand Master. After the 1522 capture of the island the Ottoman Empire, the palace was used as a command centre and fortress. The lower part of the palace was severely damaged by an ammunition explosion in 1856. During the Italian rule of Rhodes, the Italian architect Vittorio Mesturino restored the damaged parts of the palace between 1937 and 1940. It became a holiday residence for the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, and later for Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini (Stop Pictures)
The Ruins of St John's Cathedral This is the first cathedral built by the Knights of St John, right across from the Palace of the Grand Master. Construction works on this project were launched when the Order of St. John established themselves on the City of Rhodes (1310), the consecration of the church having taken place in 1314. This is a typical coenobium church playing host to both the religious and the political functions of the Order. Seven chapels were added to the main construction during the rule of the Knights (1309 - 1522) along with a residence of Prior Jean Morel.
Under the Ottoman rule, the church was converted into the Grand Mosque of Rhodes. In 1856, a major explosion in a forgotten gunpowder under the belfry caused the whole edifice of the church to crumble. The neo-classical style school building now seen in this area was built on the site of that church. (Stop Pictures)
The St Anthony's Gate was the old western gate of Rhodes. Grand Master d'Amboise modified the design of the walls, so this became one of three gates between the external gate and the town. (Stop Visit Pictures)
The d'Amboise Gate with the moats and the defense system. The d'Amboise is a grand gate just below the Palace of the Grand Master. It has two round towers and a covered entrance. Remains of the ancient studded wood doors are still visible. From a military view point this is the most important gate. (Stop Visit Pictures)
We drive out of the Medieval City and visit:
The St John's Gate (or Red Gate), commonly known as "red door". According to the tradition during the siege of 1522 there were so many fallen men in front of this gate that the stones were dyed red. The external fortification, the Gate of St John, was built by Grand Master d'Aubusson to protect the earlier fortifications. St John's Gate was the end of the road which linked Rhodes with the villages on the eastern coast (Stop Visit Pictures)
The St Athanasius Gate and the Tower of the Virgin. This Gate was built between 1441 and 1442. It is also known to locals as St Francis Gate since the church of St Francis of Assisi, built by the Italians, is just outside the gate. The round tower of St Mary that controlled the entrance to the gate was built in 1441 by the Grand Master Jean de Lastic. According to the Turkish tradition, the troops of the conqueror Suleiman the Magnificent entered Rhodes through this gate. The gate was then closed by the Sultan who wished to prevent any other conqueror to pass after him. It was re-opened by the Italians in 1922 during the 400th anniversary of the conquest of Rhodes by the Ottomans and has remained open ever since. (Stop Visit Pictures)
The St Paul's Gate was built in the second half of the 15th century to allow access to the fortified city and Kolona Harbour. The Gate of St Paul was almost demolished during World War II but was rebuilt, together with Marine Gate, in 1951. (Stop Visit Pictures)
We continue to the Fort of St Nicholas, it is an impressive piece of military architecture of the early cannon age of the 15th century at the entrance to Mandraki Harbour. Mandraki was the military harbor and was guarded by a tower built between 1464 and 1467 by the Grand Master Zacosta. After the siege of Rhodes in 1480 the Grand Master d'Aubusson added a bastion around the tower transforming it into a guard fortress on the sea. From this vantage point you can also see the place where, according to the tradition, once stood the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. (Stop Visit Pictures)
We drive out of Rhodes Town to the West Coast of the island and up to the Acropolis of Ialyssos - Filerimos Hill (with the car, no climbing). Here you visit 'Our Lady of Filerimos' church and the Monastery of Filerimos built by the Knights of St John. (Stop Visit Pictures)
We then take a drive from the West coast along the South-East coast of the island (48 km / 30 miles) to Lindos.
One mile before Lindos your Tour/Driver will park the car at a vantage point for a panoramic picture of the acropolis, the white village, and the port of Lindos. (Stop Pictures)
You will then be driven down to St Paul's Bay, a scene of incredible wild beauty. (Stop Pictures)
Then he will drive you to the main square of Lindos village, so you can climb up the Acropolis of Lindos and visit the Fortifications of the Knights. (Stop Visit Pictures)
On the way back, there will be a short stop at Charaki village to get your pictures (from a distance) of Feraklos Castle. The castle is mostly ruins and only some sections of the outer wall still exist. The fortress was a former Byzantine castle and captured by the Knights Hospitallers on Tuesday 20 September 1306 AD (it was their first possession on the island). By 1408 it was in ruins and was repaired under the Grand Masters Giovanni Battista Orsini (1467–76) and Pierre d'Aubusson (1476–1503) as a stronghold to protect the area. A few months after the capture of Ottoman Empire, and a long siege, the fort was seized by the Ottomans. It was the last stronghold in Rhodes to succumb to the Ottoman Empire. The Knights left Rhodes on Thursday 2 January 1523 AD. The Ottomans did not use the castle and it has since been abandoned. (Stop Pictures)
On the drive back to your starting place, the last 14km / 8 miles are along the coast road near Faliraki with its marvelous beach, and Kallithea Spa.
Upon returning to Rhodes Town, you may choose to be dropped back at your hotel or your ship. Another drop-off spot would be near the city gates of the Old Town for you to continue independent browsing. You would then be responsible for your own return to the ship on foot, which will be docked approximately a quarter mile away.
(Stop Photos) = Stop and get out of the car for photos from outside of the Site/building
(Stop Visit Photos) = Stop and visit - go inside the sight/building for photos
Private Tour Activity Level: Moderate
Private Tour Vehicle: Mercedes Benz Sedan - holds 4 passengers comfortably, plus the driver ()
Private Tour Driver: English speaking knowledgeable tour/driver specialize in Private Tours
Private Tour Start Time: 8:30 AM or later
Private Tour Meeting Point: Hotel / Port / Airport (Meeting point varies depending upon option booked)
Private Tour Extensions: You can extend or change the itinerary of this private tour as you like. You can add a break for delicious lunch experiences at a seaside village at the Mediterranean Sea right on the water’s edge (scenic) with fresh seafood, Rhodian cuisine and excellent local wines (April to October). Or you can add the highlights and landmarks you want to visit.
Q: How long are the stops to take pictures? Will we have time to really look around?
A: As you can expect, some spots are more time-consuming than others. There is no set time for each highlight. You will have plenty of time to look around and take photos of the landmarks and we watch how the tour progresses at each landmark and adjust the tour accordingly.
Q: How much are the entrance fees on this Tour?
A: The entrance fee to monastery of Filerimos is 6 euro per person. The Entrance fee to Acropolis of Lindos is 12 Euros per person (Children under 18 years old free). No charge to enter Lindos village.
Q: Can you tell us, if we decide to not climb the Acropolis of Lindos - can we take pictures of it from the bottom? Are there handrails or would it be a difficult climb?
A: For the most part the stairs really are ok. The risers are maybe 5-7 inches and the treads about 18-24 inches. Not normal stairs. No handrail on either side. Yes, you can take pictures from below (of a hillside.) The good ones are at the top.
Q: How long does it take a walk back to our ship from the gate near the Palace of Grand Master and the Archaeological Museum?
A: Usually it takes less than 10 min, however, you can do it as long as you wish, enjoying a nice walk through the Old Town.
Q: What is Rhodes known for, in terms of food / beverages and souvenirs? What's the one thing we shouldn't miss?
A:, , and the famous handmade .
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