Destinations Europe

Walking With The Knights Of St John – The Streets Of Medieval Rhodes

If you just want to relax and lie on the beach all day then the island of Rhodes, with its 300 days of sun, is perfect for you. However, if you fancy leaving the 21st century behind and stepping back into the Medieval period to walk in the footsteps of the Knights of St John then you must visit the old town of Rhodes.

And if you visit at dusk when the crowds thin and the light fades, it is easy to imagine yourself back in the 15th century. You wouldn’t be surprised if were greeted by a couple of crusade seasoned knights within the narrow gothic streets.

The Old Town Walls

The fortifications of the Old Town, Rhodes

The medieval town of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sitting on the crossroads between Europe and the Middle East it has been an important strategic location over the centuries. The Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and transformed Rhodes city into the heavily fortified stronghold you can see today.

The town is the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. It is surrounded by a 4 km wall which is up to 12 m thick in parts and is dispersed with ten, impressive, fortified gateways.

The Street Of The Knights
The 'Street of the Knights', Rhodes

The ‘Street of the Knights’, Rhodes

One of the highlights of the old town is the cobbled Street of the Knights. From the 14th century, the street was home to the Knights who ruled Rhodes. Along the street are the inns of the seven ‘tongues’, the languages of the various knights – England, France, Germany, Italy, Aragon, Auvergne and Provence.

When we were walking the street, it was getting dark and there only a handful of people along its entire length. The atmosphere was amazing and it was hard to believe that only a few blocks away were the bustling bars and restaurant of modern Rhodes.

The Lady of the castle Cathedral

The Lady of the castle Cathedral

At the eastern end of the Street of the Knights are the remains of Lady of the Castle Cathedral. Originally constructed in the 11th century but the three-aisled Gothic structure was built in the 14th century.

Like many churches, it was turned into a Mosque during the Ottoman occupation.

The medieval streets of Rhodes

The medieval streets of Rhodes

Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes

We love walking the medieval narrow streets of Rhodes at night but if you want to find out more about the rich, turbulent history of the island you must come back during the day to visit the museums and palaces.

The Palace of the Grand Master was first constructed by the Knights Hospitaller during the 14th century but has been rebuilt several times. The palace also contains two permanent archaeological exhibitions, which are housed in the arched halls on the ground floor. One is “Ancient Rhodes” and looks at the 2400 years since the founding of the city of Rhodes, the other looks at Rhodes from the early Christian period to the Turkish conquest in 1522.

Dusk, Rhodes Old Town

Rhodes Old Town at dusk

We also enjoyed a nighttime cruise around Mandraki Harbour where you can get a great view of the city. The entrance of the harbour was where the mythical Colossus of Rhodes was said to have stood.

If you are interested in visiting Greece or one of its fascinating islands then check here for more.

 

Rhodes Old Town, Greece - Walking with the medieval streets of Rhodes

The Streets Of Medieval Rhodes – Pin For Later

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  • noel
    May 26, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Wow, I love historic places and tours, this is so well maintained. I’m glad most of this is still intact without much of the typical tourist tack you see at these places….or maybe it’s just beyond the walls of the old center?

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 27, 2018 at 6:30 am

      There is plenty of tack available but luckily they keep it away from the main historical sites.

  • Wendy Elliott
    May 26, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Rhodes is definitely on my bucket list! A great combination – the beach and Medieval historic sights! I did not know that Rhodes was once walled. The evening photos of the castle cathedral are beautiful; makes me want to visit at night. I love see a city by land and by water.
    I saved your site for a time when I am planning a Greece trip.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 3, 2018 at 10:55 am

      The walls around the old town are massive and well preserved, you should definitely visit if you are in Greece.

  • Danijela
    May 27, 2018 at 8:19 am

    This brings back few memories. 🙂 I’ve actually spent some time on Rhodes island last June and I just loved it! Such a perfect combination of places to see and visit, but with a range of beaches and restaurants to enjoy. So, I can understand why you were so overwhelmed. After seeing the Old Town of Rhodes and learning few things about knights of St John, I was eager to visit Malta next. 🙂
    Did you go to Lindos town yet? More history for us history buffs. 😀

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 28, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Yes, we did actually stay in Lindos for a week as well. It is a beautiful place and very interesting as well.

  • Claire
    May 27, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    I had no idea Rhodes had a historical old town, I’d just heard about the beaches! It is stunning, I love The Lady of the castle Cathedral, I would love to wander the streets here and find a knight or two! 🙂

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 28, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      Most people do just think of the beaches but the medieval town is really interesting and definitely worth an evening visit.

  • Dorene
    May 27, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    When I first found your post, I didn’t realize it was Greece (I have to go!) These medieval streets are not what I expected, so it looks like it was a nice departure from other sights in Greece. You definitely visited this place at the right time. I would have loved to walk through the cobbled streets at night all to myself. I was looking forward to seeing pictures from your nighttime cruise

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 28, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      It is so atmospheric at night. Unfortunately, the nighttime pictures of the harbour cruise did not do justice to the actual views.

  • Suruchi
    May 28, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Woo! Walking with knights on cobbled stone street, this will be so damn interesting. The place looks too well maintained and holds so much of history too. We would love walking and learning here.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 3, 2018 at 10:56 am

      The atmosphere at night when the crowds have gone is amazing.

  • Indrani
    May 29, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    I am dreaming of walking these lanes of medieval Rhodes! The old streets there are so charming, as if time stood still.
    And the best part is they are not crowded.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 3, 2018 at 10:57 am

      It is like time stood still. In the day it can get hot and busier but at night its perfect.

  • Skye Class
    May 29, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    This place is awesome! I’m a little ashamed to say I actually had to Google the exact location of Rhodes. I’ve heard about it my whole life, but never knew where it was. I certainly haven’t explored enough of Greece, and can’t wait to return. I’m definitely going to have Rhodes on my itinerary when I go back.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      June 3, 2018 at 10:58 am

      You can see why it was an important stop during the crusades. It is really close to Turkey and the Middle East.

  • Karla Ramos
    May 30, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Rhodes is in my bucket list because of its beaches, but thanks to this post!!! Now I REALLY want to go there! The Medieval streets of Rhodes are beautiful!

  • Medha Verma
    May 31, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Wow, Rhodes looks exactly like the kind of town I’d want to visit. The cobbled stone streets of ‘The street of the knights’, the lovely lady of castle cathedral and the old town walls are amazing. I love places with the ancient city feel and Rhodes seems to fit the bill perfectly!