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July 21, 2007
From journal Roaming in Rhodes Old Town
by GB from Devizes
Devizes, United Kingdom
July 29, 2005
Beginning closest to the Old Town walls, the first place to visit is the "neo agora" or new market. Painted in vibrant colours, it is a strange, heptagonally-shaped open-air structure containing a wide selection of bars, tavernas, tourist restaurants and gift shops, as well as its more conventional offerings of fish, fruit, vegetable, and herb stalls. On a hot day, as was on our visit, it is stiflingly airless inside and you can’t spend more than ten minutes examining the wares for sale before retiring to the comforting shade of a waiting bar.
Leaving the agora, turn left and continue along Odos Eleftherias to where it widens out into the pedestrianised area; immediately in front of you is the lovely fountain in the centre of the square, installed by the Italians. It doesn’t commemorate or signify any person or event but is nevertheless an attractive feature. Directly in front of the fountain is a large, ornately decorated church, again, a relatively modern addition to the buildings here.
Behind the church is the Governor’s Palace, dating from the era of the Knights. This was unfortunately bedecked with scaffolding and polythene, indicating a pretty extensive restoration project to be in operation. Entrance was out of the question so we walked on by to the ornate clock-tower that sits behind the Palace, built in Venetian style by the Italians and looking rather out-of-place here in Rhodes. Venice itself would be a more fitting site for it I’m sure but again, it is a worthwhile sight to behold.
Further along is the impressive Basilica of Evangelismos, built here after the devastating explosion in 1856 that destroyed the Palace of The Grand Masters and St John’s Loggia in the Old Town. Further on still, and flanking one off the local beaches is Murad Reis Mosque which, rather strangely (and outside of the Greeks usual indifference to anything Turkish) was fitted with a replacement minaret in the early '90s by the Greek Tourist Department. As with all mosques, visitors are not allowed inside unless seeking prayer.
Finally, following the sweep of the adjacent beach round to the left, you arrive at the wonderful art-deco aquarium, another legacy of the Italians and looking rather resplendent having been recently given a face-lift. It’s exterior is decorated with relief pictures of star-fish and the like and entrance is only 1 euro, 80 cents. This will take you into a subterranean tank area where the various exhibits are on display and is well-worth an hour’s stopover.
From journal The Picturesque Delights of Mandraki Harbour