Rhodes Fortress: Description, History and Photos of Rhodes Citadel
Rhodes fortress is considered the main attraction of the island of Rhodes in Greece. In Russian tourists, it does not cause such attached interest as foreigners. It is very popular with a convenient location, as it is located in the historic center of the capital of the city of Rhodes.
A visit to the Rhodes Fortress is an opportunity to look at the fortifications built in the time of the Byzantine Empire and the Board on the Island of Knights-Hospitallers, visit several museums and walk along a major shopping street.
It is difficult to say whether an ordinary tourist is worth watching all museums, gates and streets. To see everything interesting in the Rhodes Fortress, you need to devote to her all day. We would recommend to visit only the most interesting places we will write about.
A little about the history of the Rhodes Fortress
In 1187, for the first time after the crusades, Jerusalem was taken. It was not yet the end of Christian Board in the Holy Land, but the first step to this. In 1291 fell the last Bastion of the Crusaders in Palestine, the city of Acre.
Crusaders knights had to decide what to do next. Knights-Templars moved to France, and the second in size of the Order of Hospitallers did not wish to be removed away from the Holy Land. After some time, the wanders, they captured the island of Rhodes.
Settling on the island, hospitallers decided to rebuild fortifications.
The process was not very active, but in 1312 an important event occurred. The Order of the Knight Templar was dissolved, his members were arrested, and the property was transferred to the Order of Hospitallers. This is a "dark" story due to the fact that European monarchies have large debts in front of the Templars.
This event went to the benefit of the Rhodes fortress, which the knights began to actively rebuild and strengthen. Money for it appeared.
Rhodes Fortress was the last Bastion of Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean, and European countries actively helped knights. Hospitallers successfully sustained the siege for the troops of Sultan Egypt in 1444, the siege of the Ottoman Empire’s troops in the 1480th, but in 1523 and the year Turkish Sultan Suleiman I was great took the fortress.
Suleiman I well sign Russian tourists. It was he who was married to the famous Roksolana. The popular series "Magnificent Century" tells about the time of his rule in the Ottoman Empire.
Knights were able to leave and settled on the island of Malta, and are now known under the name of Maltese knights.
What to look inside
The main thing and most interesting in the fortress is the defensive structures themselves. Rhodes fortress assign title of the most impregnable bastion in Europe. We would not make such loud statements, as we consider the most impregnable Castle of Hochoszhevitz in Austria. By the way, Sultan Suleiman he did not conquer during his campaign to Austria, and he could take the Rhodes fortress.
Despite the fact that in the end, the Rhodic fortress was taken by Turks, it represents a masterpiece of fortification art. Tell in order about all its elements.
In some sources on the Internet they write that "for the entrance to the fortress you will have to go through 11 gates". It’s not quite true. The fortress is really 11 gates, but they are located around the perimeter of the city wall, and not consistently.
Most likely, you will have to go through two gates, in the first you will enter, and in the second exit. In the photo on the right most powerful ones. This is the gate of Amboaz. The narrow bridge and two protective towers on the sides make them almost impassable for enemies.
Gate Amboise is not a central entrance to the fortress. There are other gates that are considered parade. This is the gate of St. Athanasius. In 1523, the Turkish army of Suleiman I was magnificent entered the Rhodes fortress through them.
Immediately after this event, Sultan ordered to seal them. He believed that in this way he would prevent the capture of the Rhodes Citadel in the Future.
The third significant gates are the gate of St. John. They are not so remarkable, but the most important in terms of history. It was here that in 1523 the Turks broke out into the fortress. These gates are also called the "Port of Kokkini", which is translated as "Red Door". According to eyewitnesses, there were so many dead Turks and shed so much blood that the gate got exactly this name.
In addition to these three gates, eight more in the fortress. All they are not as interesting and not very fortified. They lead to the fortress from the sea, in places, almost unsuitable for assault. No need to seriously strengthen these gates was simply not.
When the hospital knights captured the island, they began to rebuild the walls. All the earlier fortifications, built by Byzantine, were disassembled. Only one wall was left without attention. This wall surrounds the Palace of the Grand Master and is called "Collachium" (Collachium).
Palace of the Grand Master
In this castle, there were 19 great masters of the Order of Knights-Hospital Services. After taking the fortress by the Turks, the palace came to the launch until the 20th century, when Rhodes Island was attached to Italy.
Italians conducted a large-scale reconstruction of the whole building. It was assumed that here there will be a summer residence of the King Italy Viktor Emmanuel III, and later the dictator of Benito Mussolini, who never appeared on Rhodes.
The Palace of the Grand Master is open to tourists. Not all rooms are open, but the most interesting you can see. Especially interesting mosaic. Unfortunately, they are not as ancient as they seem. This is the work of the Italian masters of the beginning of the 20th century.
Bastions and strengthening of the Rhodes Fortress
All defensive structures were divided between several squads of knights. These divisions were called "languages", as they consisted of knights of certain regions of Europe, speaking certain languages.
In total, the Order was seven "languages" (or "Langs"), but the fortifications were divided only for five parts. Not every "language" was quite numerous to protect his own bastion. The most famous bastions of the Rhodes fortress defended "Languages" of Italy, Spain and England.
The Rhodes’ fortress had double walls, between which there were a width of about 20 meters. The knights protected only the inner wall, and the external served for intermediate protection against cannon. Now the ditch has long been drained, which does not reduce the impression of this medieval fortification masterpiece.
You can walk along the wall and feel the defender of the fortress. By the way, during the last siege of the fortress in 1523, the knights themselves were not there. On the walls of the Rhodes Fortress there were only 300 knights and 300 of their squire. In addition to them, the fortress was protected by 5,000 Greek militia. Turkish army numbered about 100,000 people.
Archaeological and Byzantine Museums
If you have little time, it is better to visit the Archaeological Museum first. It has several interesting halls dedicated to knights. By the way, they themselves never called themselves. Their Order Wears the official name "Saint John", and the Saint-Patron is John the Baptist.
Street Knights (or Ippoton Street)
Rhodes Fortress surrounded the whole city in which 5,000 people lived. The total length of the walls was about 4 kilometers. From the west to the east, the city crosses the main street that is called the "Street of Knights".
Along this street there were houses of knights-hospiters, taverns and other important institutions of the city.
Now the street looks exactly the same as in the time of the knights. It is worth a visit for the sake of the feeling of antiquity, when even a squad of warriors in the armor will not surprise you if you see them here.
Very popular place in foreign tourists. Especially there are many of them when a cruise ship moored in the harbor. This is the main shopping street of the city. Most stores are available at 10-00 and works almost until midnight.
Here you can buy any Greek souvenirs, leather and fur products. You can sit in a cozy cafe and drink coffee with Greek sweets, or something stronger.
Trade here does not stop even at lunchtime at Siesta. On Socrates Street, prices are slightly higher, but the range of shopping shops is richer than in other tourist sites.
The Rhodes Fortress is rightfully considered one of the most interesting sights of Rhodes, and we recommend calling here at least half of the day.
Input price: free of charge the fortress, the cost of entering the museum – 6 EUR.
Opening hours: around the clock.
How to get there: the fortress is located in the heart of the city of Rhodes, it is difficult to skip it.
Have a successful visit to the Rhodes Fortress and read our articles about Greece (Links below).