*This is for college purposes only.
Lying on the Aegean Sea, close to Turkey, Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands. Its capital, UNESCO-listed Rhodes Town, is one of Greece’s top tourist destinations. It is enclosed by an impressive fortification system, including monumental towers and gates built by the Knights of St. John after they took control of the island in the 14th century. The car-free cobbled streets of the old town are a joy to explore on foot. Nearby attractions include the pretty hillside coastal town of Lindos, and Marmaris on the Turkish coast, which can be visited by excursion boat. Rhodes is served by an airport, as well as regular ferries from Athens’ port, Piraeus.
Best to know one thing from the start about Old (Medieval) Town of Rhodes (Rhodos): It’s not laid out on a grid — not even close. There are roughly 200 streets or lanes that simply have no name. Getting lost here is not a defeat; it’s an opportunity. Whenever you feel the need to find your bearings, you can ask for Sokratous, which is the closest the Old Town of Rhodes comes to having a main street.
When you approach the walls of the Old Town of Rhodes, you are about to enter the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. It’s a thrill to behold. Although there are many gates, we suggest that you first enter through Eleftheria (Liberty) Gate, where you’ll come to Plateia Simi (Simi square), containing ruins of the Temple of Venus, identified by the votive offerings found here, which may date from the 3rd century B.C. The remains of the temple are next to a parking lot (driving is restricted in the Old Town), which rather diminishes the impact of the few stones and columns still standing. Nevertheless, the ruins are a reminder that a great Hellenistic city once stood here and encompassed the entire area now occupied by the city, including the old and new towns. The population of the Hellenistic city of Rhodes is thought to have equaled the current population of the whole island (roughly 100,000).