Rhodes, Greece: Old Town – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite

Rhodes, Greece: Old Town – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite


Rhodes, or Rhodos,
as locals call it, is the fourth-largest
of the Greek islands. As we enter the historic harbor, the walls of the fortified town
seem to tell a story. Rhodes is built upon layers
of civilizations — Italian, Greek, and Turkish, with a dash
of medieval Crusader lore from all over Europe tossed in. Today, luxury yachts
crowd the harbor. The island’s main city,
also called Rhodes, was one of the great cities
of antiquity. The famed statue
called the Colossus of Rhodes once towered above the city. ♪♪ Ancient Greeks believed that this easternmost point
of the Greek world, where the rising sun
first kissed Greek soil, was the home
of the sun god, Helios. So, they honored Helios
by building a colossal statue. It was 100 feet tall
in polished bronze. This Colossus of Rhodes was one of the seven wonders
of the ancient world. But it was destroyed
by an earthquake a couple hundred years
before Christ, and today, nothing survives. The formidable Thalassini Gate
is a reminder of the age of Chivalry
and the famed Knights of Malta. They were also called the Knights
of Saint John Hospitallers. Their mission during
the 12th-century crusades: To protect Christian pilgrims
on their way to Jerusalem and provide hospitals
for their care. The pope recognized
the Knights of Saint John as a religious order, and they eventually became
“soldiers of the cross” with an economic agenda
and a mighty navy. Because the knights were
from aristocratic families, they had lots of money
and lots of power. As the nearest Greek island
to the Holy Land, Rhodes was a natural
gathering point for Crusaders
from all over Europe. In 1309,
the Knights of Saint John claimed Rhodes
as their headquarters and transformed it
into a bustling, highly fortified European city
governed by their Grand Master. Coming from all over Europe, they gave Rhodes
a cosmopolitan feel. This lane, called
the Street of the Knights, originally hosted knights
from their various countries. Whether from Spain,
France, or Germany, each group built
its own headquarters here to feel like home. To this day, the street feels
medieval with carved reliefs that show off
that original national pride. ♪♪ In the 14th century, the knights built the
Palace of the Grand Master — an imposing residence
and capital for their leader. Destroyed by the Ottoman Turks, it was rebuilt in a fanciful
style just a century ago. The palace was fortified
with three walls and two moats for good reason —
the ever-present Turkish threat. Huge granite cannonballs
littering the grounds are a reminder that it was said,
“when the Turks attacked, cannonballs
rained down on the city.” ♪♪ The Ottoman Turks
finally defeated the Knights of Saint John
in the 1500s. The knights then retreated hundreds of miles west
to the island of Malta, where they built an even more
fortified headquarters. Rhodes then became
part of the Ottoman Empire for several centuries. In fact, you can still feel
that Turkish influence to this very day. Ippokratous Square is
the busy heart of the old town. And those once-formidable walls
now seem only to protect a fun-loving tourist’s mecca
and a vibrant artist’s colony. The bazaar-like back lanes
are a delight to wander, and the main shopping drag still feels a bit like
a Turkish bazaar. At the top end, a 500-year-old
minaret marks the Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent. Back outside the walls, the city
beach sprawls in a beautiful arc away from the harbor. This point, where the Aegean
and Mediterranean Seas meet, is famously windy —
long powering windmills. And the once-menacing shores of
Turkey are just 12 miles away.

29 thoughts on “Rhodes, Greece: Old Town – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite

  1. Rick Steves is one good guy, good family man, good religious man, a man of faith. Check out his documentary on Martin Luther.

  2. Was here when I was in the Navy back in 96. Beautiful country! Spent hours between the walls with some shipmates playing with the goats.

  3. Actually I think Rhodos was a bastion of the Crusaders on their retreat from The Holy Land. Been several times, it's very impressive. Rick always does a fine video.

  4. Hi Rick!

    I am Indonesian, and an English learners. Many foreign tourists visit Indonesia every year. I want to talk with them when I meet one, as a way to improve my English speaking skills.

    My question, what do you think the topic that is good to talk about? (A topic that the tourists want, like, or are interested to talk, or you mention it the criteria …)

  5. Very interesting.. I love the detail of the architecture & the street of little shops. You are so fortunate to be able to see the wonders of the world really. Thank you for what you do for those of us who will never get to see these places.

  6. America is amazing, people need to be grateful where they live now. My ancestors came from Europe and maybe Egypt. I am considered American. I love history and traveling.

  7. Conheci nas férias de 2008. Amei, achei tudo muito lindo. Quero voltar um dia.
    Parabéns pelo vídeo, Saudações do Brasil.

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