Rhodes Town


    The New Town, #monte-smith, #rodini, Old Town 

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The New Town. When the Turks conquered Rhodes, they displaced the Greeks and only the Turks and Jews were allowed within the Old Town. The Greek element was driven out and forced to live in neighborhoods outside the city walls, known by the Turkish name of  'Marasia'. These suburbs expanded towards the South and South-East of the Castle, around spots where there had been only country dwellings and churches under the rule of the Knights. During the last hundred years another new area of building has sprung up, the so-called "Niochori" (new village), along the north front and its first inhabitants were those relocating to Rhodes from other nearby islands as well as foreigners. This was the area that the Italians chose to built their modern buildings, turning it into the administrative center of the city.
The best place to start exploring Rhodes town is Cyprus square (Platia Kyprou) right in the center of town. Around the square you can find many fashionable boutiques, jewelry shops and tailors, and just about every major Greek and foreign bank. As you proceed down to Gallias street you come to a large heptagonal (seven sided) building called the New Market flooded with a variety of small shops, while the upper floor is occupied mainly by law firms. Within the New Market you can also find many fresh fruit and vegetable stands, butchers shops, cafes and a variety of gift shops. 

On the front of the building and by the sea front side, there are many coffee shops and snack bars, while on the rear of the building is where all the local buses that serve all the West and part of the East side of the island are located. Less than 100 meters away is the KTEYL (another bus terminal) that serves the eastern part of the island.

In front of the New Market is Mandraki Harbor. This was the naval port of ancient Rhodes and its entrance could be closed  by chains. Now days, the entrance is adorned by two statues; a male and female deer - symbols of the island - which stand on top of two columns. This is where Colossus was standing, according to some historians. The port is now used by yachts, large and small, local fishing boats and cruise boats that leave from here every day for short cruises to nearby islands or to tourist resorts around the island of Rhodes. In addition, small and large boats of all types can be rented here and the adventurous ones, can organize and carry out their own cruises. On the long water breaker at Mandraki, stand the three medieval windmills.
A fine sandy beach begins at the Naval Club that stretches to the northernmost tip of the island, where the Hydro-biological Institute (Aquarium) is located. This beautiful beach continues round the tip and to the other side of the cape. The beach is practically packed with tourists and locals alike, all trying to get the best tan they can in the shortest time possible.
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Monte Smith. This may be reached either by foot (it is less than 3 km from the center of the city) or with by bus number five (5), which leaves Eleftherias square, next to the New Market, every half hour. The hill is named after the English admiral Sir Sidney Smith, who used the site as a lookout post for keeping watch on Napoleon's fleet, during the French war with the Turks and therefore it offers a magnificent view of the Aegean Sea and on clear days, you can even see some of the nearby islands including the now, Turkish coast.
On the hill is the ancient Acropolis of Rhodes, south of the hilltop is a group of important ancient ruins, including the Stadium which dates to the 2nd century BC. Now days it is being used for concerts given by well-known Greek performers as well as foreign groups. Next to the Stadium is a small ancient Theater. Above this, the whole area was dominated by the large Temple of Pythian Apollo. By collecting the scattered remains found on this site, they managed to rebuilt part of the temple. These complex of buildings, along with the Gymnasium that stood nearby, formed the center of intellectual and artistic life in ancient Rhodes. 

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Rodini Park. It is located about 3 km from the center of town, alongside the road to Lindos. You can get to it either by taxi or bus which leaves from the terminal at the New Market every half an hour. The park with its many trees and thick shade, with a nice little stream, which every so often forms ponds where water lilies grow. This is an ideal environment for the peacocks which live and breed freely in the park and give a touch of an exotic garden. It is believed that the park was the site of the School of Rhetoric. If you take the path along the bank of the stream, you will come to the Tomb of the Ptolemies. The rock has been removed from the tomb in such a way as to form a large square base and each side measures 27.8 meters. The edges of each side are decorated by 21 Doric columns. The tomb dates back to the period of the Hellenistic Civilization and was restored in 1924.

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