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July 22, 2007
From journal Roaming in Rhodes Old Town
by GB from Devizes
Devizes, United Kingdom
July 26, 2005
If you enter via Freedom Gate, the first major sight to your left is that of the Temple of Aphrodite, now just a collection of foundations and low walls dating from the 3rd century BC. The temple was constructed long before the Old Town and is positioned between the Great Harbour (the commercial port) and the Military Harbour (Mandraki) in an east-west orientation. It was originally made with stucco-covered sandstone and was known as a prostyle-in-antis type temple. There was an Ionic-style colonnade along three sides of its cella, and it is generally thought that the statue of "Afrodite Pudico" in Rhodes museum was the original cult statue of the temple.
Close by on Plateia Argyrokastrou is the Armeria Palace, dating from the 14th century and one of the oldest buildings in the town. Built by Grand Master Roger de Pias, it was probably the first hospital to be built here, and it displays his escutcheon on the left side above the doorway. In later years, it was used as an armoury by the Turks, and today, it houses the Institute of History and Archaeology.
Of course, the main attraction is the Palace of the Grand Masters, a hugely fortified building dating from the 14th century and measuring 80m x 75m. The Turks ran it as a prison during their occupation, although, of course, it’s original function was as the seat of the Grand Masters of the Knight’s Order.
After the Turks left, it fell into virtual ruin and was totally destroyed by a vast explosion originating in the nearby St Johns Loggia in 1856, when lightning ignited some long-forgotten gunpowder in the cellars there.
It was rebuilt by the Italians and finished in 1940. It features superb mosaics from the Hellenistic and Roman eras that were shipped across from Kos, along with the impressive statues in the inner courtyard. It is reputedly built on the site of the Temple of Helios and is even rumoured to conceal the original location of the fabled Colossus.
Today, it is an awesome spectacle, hiding behind its gigantic walls and turrets that have resisted siege throughout its long, turbulent existence
From journal Rhodes Old Town - The Knights' Architectural Masterpiece
Berwick, Nova Scotia
August 31, 2003
The Palaces also houses a wonderful museum, which is well worth a visit.
From journal Rhodes - a magical trip to the past