Highlights of Rhodes Old Town
To fully appreciate the history and architecture of Rhodes Old Town, it’s best to join an organised tour. But you can always get yourself a good map and explore by yourself. One way or another, prepare for an experience that is, without doubt, one of the best things to do in Rhodes.
Just inside Marina Gate, this is the old town’s main square, with shops, cafes and tavernas around a central fountain. Sokratous Street (one of the main shopping streets) leads westward from here.
Street of the Knights
Cobblestoned, streetlamp-lit and completely knightly. This must-see street has been so beautifully preserved that you can imagine knights inhabiting the inns along the way, conversing, planning or in prayer.
Palace of the Grand Master
Also known as the Kastello, the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St John is the stand-out building of the old town. The architecture alone is worth the visit and the spacious halls are filled with medieval decor, including Roman and Early Christian floor mosaics. On the ground floor is a permanent exhibition of artefacts dating from the early Christian era to the period of Ottoman rule.
Our Lady of the Castle
This Byzantine-style church is believed to have been built in the 11th century. It has had multiple uses, having been converted into a three-aisled Gothic house of worship by the knights and into a mosque by the Ottomans.
Contains various archaeological artefacts but is noteworthy for also housing the Hospital of the Knights.
Before heading on to explore other districts, it’s worth heading up the Clock Tower (Roloi) for the panoramic view.
Just below the Street of the Knights, the pink-coloured Suleymaniye Mosque was built after the Ottoman’s conquest. Its minaret can be seen from a distance, making it a good reference point. Nearby, in Arionos Square, is the Mustafa Pasha Mosque and next door to that are the 16th century Turkish Baths. With alternating days for men and women, the baths offer an authentically Turkish Hammam.
In the 1930s, there were six synagogues in Rhodes town and a Jewish population of around 6,500. So the 16th century-built Kahal Shalom Synagogue and the Jewish quarter are important sites to explore in order to absorb the full cultural identity of the island. The quieter roads here will give a feeling for daily life in the Old Town.