Exploring the Medieval Town of Rhodes

Medieval Town aerial

The Medieval Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a living testament to the island’s rich history and cultural heritage. Nestled within the modern city of Rhodes, this well-preserved medieval gem offers a fascinating journey back in time. Visitors can wander through narrow, cobbled streets, marvel at ancient architecture, and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of a bygone era.

The Medieval Town of Rhodes is one of the oldest inhabited medieval towns in Europe. Enclosed by formidable stone walls and punctuated by imposing gates and towers, it was once the stronghold of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The town’s architecture reflects its storied past, with influences from Byzantine, Ottoman, and Italian periods, creating a unique and captivating blend.

The Medieval Town is easily accessible from various parts of Rhodes. If you are staying in the city of Rhodes, it’s a short walk or a brief taxi ride to the main entrance, the Gate d’Amboise. For those arriving by cruise ship, the town is conveniently located near the port. There are also regular bus services from other parts of the island.

The Palace of the Grand Master

One of the most iconic landmarks in the Medieval Town is the Palace of the Grand Master. Originally built in the 14th century by the Knights of St. John, the palace was later restored by the Italians in the early 20th century. Today, it serves as a museum, showcasing artifacts from the island’s history, including ancient sculptures, medieval weapons, and intricate mosaics. The palace’s imposing structure and lavish interiors offer a glimpse into the grandeur of medieval times.

Street of the Knights

Running from the Palace of the Grand Master to the Hospital of the Knights, the Street of the Knights is one of the most atmospheric streets in the town. Lined with the inns of the different “tongues” (national groups) of the Knights of St. John, this cobblestone street has remained remarkably unchanged over the centuries. As you stroll along, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time.

Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

Housed in the former Hospital of the Knights, the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. The museum’s extensive collection includes ancient pottery, statues, jewelry, and inscriptions from various periods of Rhodes’ history. Highlights include the famous Aphrodite of Rhodes and the exquisite funerary stele of Kalliarista.

The Clock Tower

For panoramic views of the Medieval Town, climb the Clock Tower, also known as Roloi. Built in the 7th century and reconstructed in the 19th century, this tower offers breathtaking vistas of the town’s rooftops and the surrounding landscape. It’s an excellent spot for photography, especially at sunset.

Suleiman Mosque

A reminder of the Ottoman period, the Suleiman Mosque is one of the most prominent mosques in Rhodes. Built in the 16th century, it features a striking pink façade and a large dome. While the mosque is not always open to the public, its exterior is worth admiring as you explore the town.

The Jewish Quarter and Kahal Shalom Synagogue

The Jewish Quarter, located in the southeastern part of the Medieval Town, is home to the Kahal Shalom Synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in Greece. Established in 1577, the synagogue and its small museum offer insights into the history and culture of the Jewish community in Rhodes. The quiet, narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter provide a contrast to the busier parts of the town.

Wander Through the Streets

One of the best ways to experience the Medieval Town is simply to wander through its maze of streets and alleys. Each turn reveals a new discovery, from charming squares and hidden courtyards to bustling shops and cozy cafés. The town’s layout, with its labyrinthine design, is a delight for explorers.

Shopping and Dining

The Medieval Town is a shopper’s paradise, with a variety of stores selling everything from handmade jewelry and local crafts to designer clothing and souvenirs. The town’s bustling market streets, such as Sokratous Street, are perfect for picking up unique gifts and mementos.

When it comes to dining, the Medieval Town offers a wealth of options. Traditional tavernas serve delicious Greek cuisine, including fresh seafood, souvlaki, and moussaka. For a more contemporary dining experience, there are numerous restaurants offering international dishes. Don’t forget to sample local delicacies such as pitaroudia (chickpea fritters) and melekouni (a traditional honey and sesame treat).


As the sun sets, the Medieval Town transforms into a lively nightlife hub. Bars and clubs cater to a range of tastes, from relaxed lounges and cocktail bars to vibrant dance clubs. Enjoy a drink in one of the town’s atmospheric bars, many of which are housed in historic buildings, and soak in the lively ambiance.

The Medieval Town of Rhodes is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern amenities. Whether you’re a history buff, a casual explorer, or a foodie, the town has something to offer. Take your time to explore its many facets, and you’ll leave with unforgettable memories of this enchanting medieval treasure.