THE CITADEL OF RHODES (MONTE SMITH)
It was a monumental zone with temples, underground worship areas, parks, stadiums, gymnasiums, conservatories. It is located at the city’s highest point, the Hill of Monte Smith. Excavations started in 1924 by the Italians, and one of the most important monuments that were brought to light is the Doric temple of Pythios Apollo. The ancient stadium, located under the temple of Apollo, was built in the 2nd century BC. Next to the stadium, there is the Roman conservatory, with radiuses that can support an attendance of up to 800 persons. Only two or three seats on the first row and a couple of stairs are authentic, the rest were part of the restoration by the Italians. Today, ancient tragedy plays and various events are held at the conservatory. In the area in front of the conservatory, there are the remains of the Gymnasium, while, on the north, the relicts of the Doric temple of Zeus Polieus and Athena Polias were discovered. This is the highest point of the area and the view over Rhodes is panoramic. It was here that the English admiral Smith had set his observation post. At the same point, the ancient astronomer Ipparchos observed the starry sky. In the wider area around the temple, there are two Nymphaia, meaning arched sanctuaries carved in natural caves. In 1802, the English set an observation post on the hill above Mandraki in order to observe the moves of Napoleon’s fleet, who had occupied Egypt. The hill was named after admiral William Sydney Smith, who was in charge of the English force.
THE CITADEL OF LINDOS
It dominates on the top of a steep rock, 116 m. above the sea. It is surrounded by the fortifications of the Knights. It covers an area of around 8,400 m. and it was the most fortified spot of Rhodes. The first impressive monument you will come upon on the way up is the stern of a ship carved on a rock, made by sculptor Pythokritos (2nd century BC). The Winged Victory of Samothrace, now exhibited at the Louvre, is estimated to have been created by the same sculptor. It was dedicated by the Rhodians to the sanctuary of Kabiri at Samothrace, after their victory against Antiochus in 190 BC. However, the most important monument lies on the highest point: the Doric temple of Lindia Athena. It was built in the 4th century BC over the remains of the initial temple, which was founded by tyrant Cleobulus of Lindos and destroyed by a fire in 392 BC. The enormous statue of Athena was standing here. It is said that Constantine the Great moved it to Constantinople and placed it in the horserace track. Later, in 1203, it was destroyed by some drunk men. On the citadel’s rock, you will see the knightly command post , a big Hellenistic arcade and the church of Aghios Ioannis, built in the 13th century.
THE CITADEL OF IALYSOS
It was the home place of Olympic champion Diagoras. It was also one of the three “superpowers” of ancient Rhodes, along with Lindos and Kamiros. The exact location of Ialysos is not known. Excavations have brought to light several small settlements and cemeteries (the oldest traces of habitation date back to the end of the 3rd millennium BC), but not any big cities. The city’s importance declined after the foundation of the city of Rhodes and it was probably destroyed for good around 155 AD., due to an earthquake. The citadel of Ialysos is located on the hill of Filerimos, in front of Kyra Filerimou monastery. Only a very few monuments of the once mighty Ialysos’ citadel were preserved. One of them is the temple of Athena Polias, dating back to the 2nd or the 3rd century BC, built on the site of an earlier, 5th century temple. At the same spot, over the remains of Athena’s temple, a basilica was built around the 5th or 6th century AD. Only the baptistery survived of it. West of the temple, there is the underground Byzantine church of Aghios Georgios of Hosto, built more or less at the same time as the basilica. Another relic of the ancient citadel is a Doric drinking fountain from the 4th century BC, with faucets in a lion head shape.
It was the smallest of the three powerful cities of the island before the foundation of Rhodes. Legend goes that the city was founded by Kamiros, son of Kerkafos and grandson of Helios. The first traces of habitation in the wider area date back to the Mycenaean era. After 408 BC (the year the city of Rhodes was founded), Kamiros started to decline and it vanished for good in the 2nd century AD, probably because of the earthquake in 155 AD. During Ottoman rule, there were only fields at the current location of the archaeological site. However, the location was called Kampiros, a place name that made English and French archaeologists suspicious, so they started doing research. In fact, after the excavations that started in 1852 and ended in 1864, one of the most characteristic cities of the Hellenistic period was brought back to light. Streets, public buildings, temples and many private residences survived. Amongst other things, clay vases and plates were discovered in the excavations. One of them, the “plate of Kamiros”, that has a big fish stamped on its central part, is exhibited at the Louvre. As far as the other findings are concerned, some are exhibited at the British Museum, while others, such as the column of Krito and Timarista, at the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes.
It is one of the most important early settlements with an organized urban plan that have been found in Greece. It was inhabited for about 100 years, from 650 to 550 BC, and it was of a military nature, as it constituted the last port of the eastern Aegean. The site was excavated in the years 1907 to 1908 by Karl Frederik Kinch, a member of the Danish Archaeological Mission that had developed a significant excavating activity on the island. The mosaics that you will see on the sand belong to a Paleochristian church built in the 6th century. The archaeological site is located at the southernmost part of Rhodes, right across Prasonisi. A few metres off Prasonisi beach, there is a dirt road leading to Vroulia.