Medieval City
Rhodes Town
Multimedia Map Description
Rhodes Town

How to get

The Old Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a showcase of defensive architecture spanning from the 5th to the 16th century.


It’s a cultural jewel where ancient temples, Byzantine churches, knights' castles, and Ottoman mosques coexist. Despite its historical significance, around 6,000 people still call it home, making it a unique living museum.

The ancient Greeks established the historic center of Rhodes in 408 BCE, making it the island’s capital and merging the once-independent city-states of Lindos, Kamiros, and Ialysos. During this era, the famous Colossus of Rhodes was constructed, a wonder of the ancient world that no longer exists. Today, at the entrance of Mandraki harbor, two pillars topped with deer statues mark where the Colossus once stood.

By the dawn of the Common Era, the island was under Roman control. They constructed a nearly 4-kilometer wall around the Old Town—a structure that still stands today. Throughout history, this prime seaside location has attracted the attention of various neighboring powers, particularly during the Byzantine era. In 1248, the Genoese took control but contributed little to its architectural heritage. In stark contrast, the Knights of Saint John made significant enhancements. After acquiring Rhodes in 1306, they transformed it into an impressive fortress encompassing an area of 420,000 square meters.

The Turkish Sultan found the presence of a Christian knightly order on Rhodes unacceptable. He had long desired the island and was further provoked by the establishment of a Christian military-monastic brotherhood there. Despite his repeated attempts over decades, the Sultan’s forces could not breach the defense of the island’s 7,000 soldiers. However, in 1522, Rhodes fell under Ottoman control. As the knights fled to Malta, the Sultan initiated the construction of mosques within the Old City and even demolished the Church of the Apostles for this purpose. It was during the Ottoman era that the Grand Master’s Palace was destroyed in 1856 due to a gunpowder explosion. The palace was later restored in the 1930s, funded by Benito Mussolini.

In 1912, Italy seized Rhodes from the Ottoman Empire, but it was not until 36 years later that it became a part of Greece.

Key Attractions

  • The Street of Knights. This well-preserved medieval street originally connected the port to the Temple of Helios and had no adjacent buildings. Don’t be surprised by the architectural variety here; the constructions were tailored for knights from diverse European regions, reflecting a mix of English, German, French, and Italian styles.
  • The Grandmaster’s Palace. Originally serving as the headquarters for the Knights Hospitaller, the Grandmaster’s Palace now stands as a historical gem. Italian restorers have meticulously reconstructed its medieval splendor, including various architectural elements and intricate floor mosaics from the Hellenistic to early Christian periods, sourced from Kos. On the ground floor, visitors can explore a diverse collection of historical pieces, spanning from early Christian times to the Ottoman era.
  • Located at the entrance of the Old Town, the Rhodes Archaeological Museum once served as a hospital for the Knights Hospitaller. Don’t miss the exquisite marble statue of the Aphrodite of Rhodes.
  • The Old Town of Rhodes is home to six distinctive mosques. The grand Suleiman Mosque stands out, while the Mehmet Aga Mosque is noted for its wooden construction. For a unique experience, visit the Ibrahim Pasha Mosque, still open for prayers. To explore cultural heritage, the Hafiz Ahmed Agha Library offers a trove of manuscripts and vintage photographs.
  • Rhodes is home to an array of Byzantine churches, totaling thirty.
  • One significant historical site is the Kahal Shalom Synagogue, the oldest in Greece, harking back to when a vibrant Jewish community of about 6,500 people managed six synagogues in the 1930s. Today, this community has dwindled to a mere 20 members.
  •  Additionally, the city boasts a Municipal Art Gallery among other cultural treasures. When visiting, one should not miss the imposing medieval city walls, primarily constructed between the 14th and 15th centuries.

Navigation Tips for the Old Town

The Old Town features a network of nine gates. A good starting point for explorers can be the Sea Gate, which transports visitors back to the medieval era, or the Ambuaz Gate, famously constructed by knights to outwit their foes. From there, simply meander through the maze of over 200 narrow streets. If curiosity piques and you wish to delve deeper into the city’s history, consider joining a guided tour or enlisting the services of a local guide.

Head towards Mandraki Port, adjacent to the ancient walls of Rhodes' Old Town.


  • Accessing the Old Town is free, but there might be fees for certain landmarks within.
  • When visiting Old Town Rhodes, carry water and snacks. While there are numerous eateries and shops, prices can be about 20% higher than elsewhere.
  • When visiting Rhodes, a unique gift to bring back is the natural sea sponges from Symi Island, available in the Old Town for about €10.
  • Comfortable Footwear: For extensive walking. Hat: Protection from the scorching sun, as it can get quite hot.
  • Allocate roughly 4 to 5 hours for a comprehensive tour of the city to fully experience its beauty.