Monolithos village is located 73 km / 45 miles southwest of the city of Rhodes. It owes its name to the huge monolithic rock on top of which is a castle from the time of the Knights of St. John Hospitallers.
Today Monolithos village has a population of some 250 inhabitants.
The castle is located near the village of Monolithos at the summit of the tall, craggy rock, dominating the view. On the rock during Classical times, there was an Ancient Phryctoria (the ancient Greek method of transmitting messages through a complicated system of lighting torches on hillocks very far from one another). Around 1476, a Byzantine castle was reconstructed from the pedestals by the Knights of St. John.
The purpose of the castle was to oversee the entire southern part of Rhodes and provide protection to the residents from the attacks of the pirates. The 1479 Decree stated that the inhabitants of Apolakkia village (10 km / 6 miles from Monolithos) had to return to the castle when threatened with attacks. Because of its location and the excellent natural fortification, it was one of the four strong fortresses of Rhodes, and unlike other historic sites, probably was not changed much over time.
Not much information is available about the history of the castle. Logically, following the course of the Rhodian country in 1522 and the departure of the Knights, it must have fallen into the hands of the Turks. With the weakening of piracy during the 17th century, the castle lost its usefulness and was gradually abandoned.
Construction was made under the authority of the Grand Master Pierre D'Aubusson (1476-1503). In old times, this castle was considered one of the four more powerful fortresses on the island, but today only the external walls fortifications remain. Inside the perimeter of the walls there are a few remnants of the fortifications, the very well preserved 15th century chapel of St. Panteleimon, and the shell of a chapel dedicated to St. George.
We drive you to the foot of the cliff and park the car at a convenient spot. A path in the Pine-tree woods leads you to the stone stairs. You will follow the narrow little steps (which are carved in the rock) all the way up until you reach the summit. After only a few minutes you will be able to take your first pictures of the castle! (Be careful not to slip on the smooth stones. Don't wear sandals, as there are a lot of stones and rocks lying around everywhere)
The view from the top is breath-taking. The Castle is on the top of the high rock, at the edge of the cliffs, so the views are fantastic! You will see Pine-tree forests far below you and the islands of Halki and Alimia off the western coast in the cool waters of the turquoise blue Aegean Sea.