Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes, part of the Dodecanese chain of islands, is located in the eastern Aegean Sea, close to Turkey. I came to visit the capital city’s (also called Rhodes) UNESCO-listed Medieval old town, the largest inhabited one in the world.

Rhodes exuded an old world charm, unlike what I have seen so far in Greece. I felt like I was wandering down alleys in France or in Italy. The long city walls were completely intact, protecting the Palace of the Grand Master and churches. The old town also contains a few mosques, a reminder of the city’s Ottoman past.

My highlight was wandering down Ippoton, the Street of the Knights. This thoroughfare dates back to the 14th century, when the Knights of the Order of St. John ruled Rhodes. The street connects the Palace of the Grand Master to the main church. All along Ippoton were Medieval stone buildings, several of which were “auberge des linguas”, or language houses (French, English, Spanish, Italian). These houses were places where knights from the same or nearby kingdoms could chat and relax.

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