Ancient Kamiros
Multimedia Map Description

How to get

Kamiros, one of the three major Doric cities on Rhodes, joined forces with Ialysos and Lindos in the 5th century BCE to form the Rhodian state. The settlement’s remnants are situated 3 km west of the current village of Kalavarda on the northwest coast.


Travelers often favor Kamiros over ancient Lindos due to its superior preservation and expansive grounds. The panoramic views are also universally praised. Forgotten for nearly two millennia, the structures here have retained their original charm, including the distinctive masonry and columns.

Archaeological efforts at Kamiros on the island of Rhodes were initially carried out by French and Italian researchers, Alfred Biliotti and Auguste Salzmann, from 1852 to 1864. Subsequent to this period, from 1928 until the end of World War II, the site underwent systematic conservation and restoration work. It was during these activities that the historical significance of the location was unexpectedly revealed through the discovery of ancient graves.

Scientists have discovered that Kamiros, though established by Dorians, was initially inhabited by the Achaeans. Evidence of this is found in the ancient Mycenaean necropolis near Kalovarda. Additionally, a Mycenaean cemetery was unearthed adjacent to Kamiros. Findings within the city indicate that its residents were engaged in agriculture, specifically in the production of oil and wine, and fig cultivation. Despite the scenic beauty and fertile soil of Kamiros, it was abandoned in the new millennium.

It’s believed that the earliest sacred site in this village dates back to the 8th century BC. However, 400 years after the establishment of Rhodes in 408 BC, Kamiros was abandoned. Despite the decline, it remained inhabited until the era of Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Additionally, it was once home to renowned poets of the era, Peisander and Anaxandrid.

Kamiros, an ancient city on Rhodes, remained inhabited until around 550 AD. At its peak in the 6th century BC, it was notable for minting its own currency. However, the settlement was devastated by earthquakes in 226 BC and 142 BC, destroying much of it, including its temple.

Archaeological Discoveries

Since 1928, Italian archaeologists have excavated the site, unearthing valuable relics that now reside in the British Museum and the Louvre, with only a few items left in the Rhodes Archaeological Museum, such as the famous tombstone of Krito and Timarista from the late 5th century BC.

Here, one can explore the vast array of architectural remnants. The highlight is the Sanctuary of Athena, where sacrificial offerings were likely made around the 6th century BCE. Only the foundations remain, including a deep rectangular pit and small cave-like indentations where a Hellenistic temple later stood. The site also features multiple terraces dating back to the Hellenistic age. At the lowermost terrace, near the end of the main road, stood a modest altar with ramps leading to a Doric-columned pavilion with a spacious forecourt. The local colonnade stretched 204 meters, making it one of the largest of its time. Some scholars suggest this sanctuary may have been Athena’s very first temple.

While exploring the remnants of ancient pathways, one would observe the multi-tiered construction of the old city. At the highest level sat the acropolis and the Sanctuary of Athena, connected to the settlement by a grand avenue. Around the 6th century BCE, the city implemented an impressive covered water storage system, whose scale is still discernible. This 600 cubic meter facility was adequate to sustain 400 families. Its purpose and operation raise curiosity.

During rainfall, the water from the rooftops would be channeled into stone wells, leading to a central pool. From this high-altitude reservoir, water was then distributed to the city through three primary clay pipelines. Along the way, it was purified by passing through a filter made from fibrous plants, a typical ancient technique. Later, a covered colonnade, or stoa, was erected over the storage area, featuring a double row of Doric columns, small shops, and residential spaces at the back. Remnants of the Kamiros sewer system, some ancient roads, steps, and the remains of residential buildings have survived to the present day.

How to get

While driving, take the main route heading southwest across the island. A cliff marks the city’s location beyond it. Alternatively, a bus service from Rhodes central bus terminal offers access to this destination.