September 23 - 29, 2018: Issue 377



By George Repin

Rhodes is the largest of the approximately 200 islands known as the Dodecanese in the south-eastern Aegean Sea, lying in the sea lane between East and West.  Fossilised sea shells found on the slopes of its mountains confirm that Rhodes and other nearby islands (such as Symi, Tilos and Chalki) were brought up from the seabed by earthquakes.

Although 270 nautical miles from Piraeus the port of Athens, Rhodes and surrounding islands are part of Greece.

To those familiar with the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World the Colossus of Rhodes will be remembered  as the massive bronze statue said to have stood astride the entrance to  the harbour of Rhodes (although evidence as to its actual position is scanty). The sculptor Chares of Lindos after twelve years work completed it in 292 BCE.  However it stood only until 266 BCE when, during a severe earthquake, it cracked at the knees and fell. It was left lying in a heap for centuries until it was sold to a Jewish merchant, and is said to have required 900 camels to transport it.

With an average annual 300 days of sunshine and mild climate Rhodes is a popular tourist destination welcoming over a million and a quarter visitors each year, to enjoy its natural beauty and immerse themselves in the legacy and history that a succession of occupiers have left.

Tourist vessels from Piraeus entering the ancient harbour of Rhodes, Mandraki, after passing the Ayios Nikolaos Fortress (St. Nicholas Fortress), are met by statues of a stag and a doe on columns – one on each side of the channel.  Three medieval windmills on the long breakwater on the east of the harbour ground the wheat arriving on merchant vessels.

Northern Rhodes showing the Mandraki Harbour, the Commercial Harbour and the Ancient Town. Baedeker’s “Greek Islands”.

The Deer on the eastern side of the entrance to the Mandraki Harbour.

The Stag on the western side of the entrance to the  Mandraki Harbour.

St. Nicholas Fortress on the eastern side of the entrance to the Mandraki Harbout.

The three windmills on the breakwater of the Mandraki Harbour.

The Ancient Town, which in 1988 was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites, provides an unique picture of a medieval town, with an imposing series of buildings erected by the Knights of St John, together with mosques and other Turkish buildings built later, giving it a distinctive character.

It is surrounded by a 4 Km long circuit of walls with towers, bastions and a moat.  These ramparts were partially erected on the foundations of earlier Byzantine enclosures, and were constantly maintained and remodelled between the 14th and 16th Centuries embodying modifications as the techniques of war changed. An impressive feature is the Marine Gate on the north-east side by the Commercial Harbour, giving access to the town from the Mandraki Harbour, with a beautiful relief sculpture of the Virgin. A walk on the walls is rewarded with excellent views including a good overview of the Grand Master’s Palace.

Twin towers of the Marine Gate entrance to the medieval town.

Walking on the ramparts around the medieval town.

 A view from the ramparts.

The moat – now dry.

Towers of the Palace of the Grand Masters seen from the ramparts.

Towers of the Palace of the Grand Masters.

The time when Rhodes was occupied by the Order of the Knights of St. John – the 213 years between 1309 and 1522 – is considered its most flourishing period.  The Knights left imposing evidence of their time on the island and gave it its particular colour which the Ancient Town retains, in its impregnable walls, its gates, the churches and the hospitals, the inns and the majestic palaces.

The accompanying photographs attempt to convey what Rhodes offers a visitor.  

Remnant of a church.

Courtyard of the Palace of the Grand Masters (“The Castello”).

A mosaic in the Castello.

The Knights’ Street which still preserves the aspect of a 15th-16th c. street.

Argyrokastro Squuare with a small fountain constructed from fragments of an Early Christian baptismal font.

Main courtyard of the Archaeological Museum  (formerly the Hospital of the Knights).

Head of Helion – in the museum.

The Aphrodite of Rhodes – in the museum.

Patients’ ward in the Knights’ Hospital’.

The Square of the Jewish Martyrs commemorating the Jews deported from Rhodes during World War II- fountain with three bronze sea-horses.

Hippocrates Square dominated by the twin towers of the Marine Gate – a popular meeting place.

(Photographs by George Repin in 2001 and 2006)

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants  Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers  The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia  Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots  Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images  Gardens  Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  Rovinj  The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots   Bonifacio, Corsica  Autumn in New England USA  The Great Ocean Road  Pompeii  Didyma  Lawrence Hargrave 1850-1915  The Corinth Canal  Malta  Snapshots of Amsterdam Café Central - Vienna  The Forbidden City - Beijing, China  A Ride on the Jungfrau Railway - 1954   Snapshots in the Highlands of Scotland 1954  Must See Sights in Paris - 1954  Corfu  Reflections On the Nineteen Thirties The Gold Souk in Dubai  Stromboli   Ha Long Bay - Vietnam  Lake Argyle The Bungle Bungle Range Langgi Inlet, W.A.  White Cliffs, NSW - 1990  Sturt National Park - May, 1990 A Few Statues and Water Spouts  The Dodecanese Archipelago

Copyright George Repin 2018. All Rights Reserved.