The historic core of Rhodes is its walled Old Town, and the medieval city of Rhodes is so beautifully preserved that it is now a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. Renowned as the oldest continuously inhabited medieval city in Europe, it not only offers an atmospheric introduction to medieval Greece, but its labyrinth streets and towering palace make it the perfect place to start a walking tour of Rhodes.
The medieval center is still encircled by its original 14th century fortification walls, which took over 200 years to construct and are dotted with gateways and watch towers. Enter through the northern Eleftherias (Liberty) Gate and you’ll find yourself in Simis Square, characterized by its striking medieval architecture and home to the Hellenistic ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite. Nearby, the lively cafes and souvenirs stores of Ippokratous Square and Sokratous street are the main tourist hubs, providing a central point from which to explore the Old Town’s many attractions.
The undisputed star of the Old Town is the dramatic hilltop Palace of the Grand Masters of the Knights of Rhodes, an unmistakable 14th-century castle, built by the Knights of St John. Leading down from the palace, the stone-paved Avenue of the Knights (Ippoton) is the city’s most famous medieval street, where the Knights once lived, and the nearby Archaeological Museum of Rhodes provides further insight into the island’s long and varied history. Also in the Old Town, the Folk Art museum and the Byzantine Museum are worth a visit, and the old Jewish quarter is home to the Kahal Shalom Synagogue and Museum. Additional sights include the Turkish Library and the Mosque of Suleiman, remnants of the 1522 Turkish invasion of Rhodes.