Day 31: Thursday, October 5, 2006
Could Live Here
largest of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes was united with
Greece in 1947 and remains the last territory added.
Rhodes' capital lies outside and within the walls of a very well
preserved Venetian castle, built by the Knights of Saint John,
which is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture, where
a handful of Knights were the last Christian holdouts in a part
of the world that had become completely dominated by Muslims, in
particular the Ottoman Turks. When the city finally did fall
after a siege that exhausted both defenders and besiegers the
remaining Knights were offered safe passage and on January 1st
of 1523 left Rhodes along with 5000 of the Christian inhabitants
of the island who chose to leave rather than live under the
Sultan. In the
defense of the city 2000 Christians had died. The Turks had lost
50,000 trying to take it. This is not, however just an old town
filled with ghosts of the past. The old city of Rhodes is a
living, vibrant community with many homes and business, not all
of them connected to tourism.
The beauty of its capital and its interesting sites make this
Greek island one of the most popular islands of Greece.
Ken standing by
the Great Harbour with St. Nicolas Fort in the right background
We got up early for breakfast and were on shore by 9:00 am.
Because we were leaving at 1:00 pm, we focused our time in the
Old Town of Rhodes City. Most of the shops were not open
yet and as you will see in the slide show photos, we pretty much
had the streets to ourselves at first. We walked along the
Street of the Knights and came to the huge Palace of the
was built in the 14th century by the Knights of Rhodes, who
occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1522. After the island was captured
by the Ottoman Empire, the palace was used as a fortress.
We then wandered around the narrow streets and got lost several
times as these streets had even narrower side streets that
weren't on the map. This wasn't too bad as we were inside
a walled city and eventually you find something that is on the
map. As we walked the narrow streets, a few of the doors
were now open. Kathryn found a lovely white Greek dress
for our grandniece Amy but decided to see if she could find
something better. In the end we decided that it was the
best and when we made our way back to the store, we almost got
lost again because now all the stores were open and everything
Palace of the
Grand Masters. Ken is in the blue top.
wandered around the town, we came to a large square were there
was a professional photographer taking fashion photos of a
couple of models. About this time Ken became tired and
needed to stop for a rest. When we decided to go back and
buy the dress for Amy, we came on to a square which had
been empty on our first time through but now was packed with
people. We ran across Dave Lunn and Al Russell enjoying a
beer at an outside table, watching the tourist walk by.
Ken was such a good boy that he did not even stop to have a beer
with them as he knew the way back to the store - the heat must
have got to him.
Our one disappointment with Rhodes had to do with a bad shopping
Models at a
saw some throw pillows at a store - we actually saw lots of them
here and in other parts of our trip - that were hand-stitched
with scenes from the Greek islands. They had tons of
pillows but the three that were on display would have matched
the blue leather couch in our living room perfectly.
Unfortunately, they were the only copies of that pattern that
they had and they wouldn't sell them to us. We looked all
over the rest of the city and couldn't find them. We went
back and begged and pleaded but they wouldn't budge because they
said those pillows brought in a lot of customers. It was
nice wandering around Old Town which does not allow car or
trucks after 11:00 am. There were lots of motorbikes and
scooters and they didn't always respect the pedestrians.
went outside the wall and followed the road along the Great
Harbour and then went back inside the walls at the north end.
We climbed up some dangers brick steps and walked along the top
of the wall for a view of the New Town and the Mandraki
Harbour. Mandraki harbor was the main harbor of Rhodes
for almost 2,500 years. On the left side you can see the
entrance to the harbor and the two deer. It is believed
that the Colossus of Rhodes was standing there. The
Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the world, was built
around 304 BC, in honor of Apollo the god of the sun (Helios in
Greek) and patron god of Rhodes. It stood one hundred feet tall
and it was located at the entrance of Mandraki harbor. Made
entirely of bronze, it was then used as a lighthouse. It
Map of Rhodes
strength and wealth of the Rhodian people. It is believed
to have been destroyed in 226 BC by a powerful earthquake. Later
the pieces, it is believed, to have been taken by the Egyptians.
We staggered back to the ship
in the heat and set sail shortly after 1:00. We had to
leave Rhodes early in order to be in Alexandria first thing in
the morning. We were also going to gain an hour due to a
time zone change. We could have spent much more time here
in Rhodes. We passed the
afternoon sun tanning out on the Sea View deck and had another
excellent dinner. The entertainment in the Queen's Lounge
was a spectacular singer Daniel Bouchet.
Click here for a slide
show of Day 31 photos.