New Market of Rhodes
May 12, 2024
Architecture of Rhodes Aquarium
Architecture of Rhodes Aquarium
May 12, 2024
New Market of Rhodes
May 12, 2024
Architecture of Rhodes Aquarium
Architecture of Rhodes Aquarium
May 12, 2024


Located in the heart of the Aegean, Rhodes shines as a beacon of architectural heritage, its landscape a testament to the passage of civilizations that have left an indelible mark on its fabric.

From the ancient ruins whispering tales of a bygone era to the medieval fortifications that once stood as bulwarks against invaders, Rhodes’ architecture is a mosaic of historical epochs. Each stone and monument tells a story of conquests, cultural exchanges, and the enduring strength of human ingenuity.

This introduction aims to unravel the tapestry of Rhodes architectural marvels, inviting you to explore the amalgamation of styles that range from the Classical Greek and Roman periods through the Byzantine era, to the Knights of St. John’s medieval legacy and the Ottoman influence.

New Market of Rhodes
New Market of Rhodes

The Majesty of the Medieval Knights

The era of the Knights of St. John, encapsulating the 14th to the 16th centuries, is a hallmark in Rhodes’ architectural historiography, epitomizing martial prowess and architectural innovation.

The Knights Hospitaller, as they are also known, imbued the island with a collection of fortifications, palaces, and hospitals that stood as a testament to their military, religious, and architectural ingenuity.

The most iconic among these is the Palace of the Grand Master, a fortress that combines gothic architectural elements with the Knights’ visionary design, symbolizing power and faith.

The Street of the Knights, still echoing the valor and chivalry of its past inhabitants, is lined with inns representing the seven tongues of the Order, each a guardian of distinct architectural elements and cultural heritage.

This period significantly shaped the urban fabric of Rhodes, integrating advanced engineering methods and imposing a structured, fortified city that catered not just to defence but also to the welfare of its inhabitants through the establishment of hospitals and communal services.

The knights’ architectural legacy is a pivotal chapter in the island’s history, offering profound insights into medieval societal structures, defence mechanisms, and cross-cultural exchanges.

This architectural narrative, woven into the very streets and edifices of Rhodes, invites scholars, architects, and enthusiasts to traverse time, exploring an era where architecture was both a shield and a statement.

Ottoman Era Fusion

During the Ottoman era in Rhodes, lasting four centuries, the island’s architecture underwent a distinctive transformation. This period introduced various Ottoman architectural styles, blending classical elements with eclecticism and Byzantine forms.

By the early 18th century, European influences, like Baroque elements from German-speaking Catholic churches and French Rococo, began to emerge in Ottoman structures. These Western styles gradually replaced traditional Arab or Persian motifs with Western decorative features.

Architectural changes were not limited to religious buildings; residential architecture also saw significant alterations. Neighbourhoods of lower economic status adopted Neoclassicism and Eclecticism, visible in revamped attics and ornate facades.

This fusion of architectural styles, including Gothic, Oriental, and Neoclassical elements, gave Rhodes a unique charm.

One key aspect of Ottoman influence in Rhodes was the conversion of Christian and Western churches into mosques after 1523. Mosques like the Suleymaniye Mosque, Mosque of Murad Reis, Yeni Hammam, and Mehmet Agha Mosque were constructed, showcasing the Ottoman adaptation to the island’s heritage sites.

Interior modifications like mihrab niches and minbars were made, while external additions such as wooden facades and minarets blended with the city’s character.

The Italian Influence and Modernism

Following the Ottoman period, Rhodes entered a new chapter of architectural and cultural evolution during the Italian occupation from 1912 to 1943. This era introduced a wave of modernism while respecting the island’s rich historical tapestry.

The Italians embarked on an extensive program of urban development, focusing on archaeological research, restoration of medieval buildings, and the construction of new structures in a style that married traditional Dodecanese elements with the rationalist architecture that was popular in Italy at the time.

One of the most notable projects from this period is the restoration of the Medieval City of Rhodes, which was undertaken with a level of care and attention to authenticity that set new standards in heritage preservation.

The Italians also added their own layer to the city’s architectural identity, with emblematic buildings such as the Governor’s Palace, now home to the Prefecture of the Dodecanese, and the Grande Albergo delle Rose, which encapsulates the luxurious style of the era.

The Italian influence extended to urban planning, with the creation of the Rodini Park and the embellishment of city streets and squares with marble and local stone, fostering a synthesis of aesthetics, functionality, and tradition.

These interventions have left a lasting imprint on the island’s urban landscape, blending seamlessly with the historical and cultural fabric of Rhodes.

Marvelling at the Majestic Buildings of Rhodes’ Architecture

The Rhodes Aquarium: A Modern Marvel by the Sea

The Rhodes Aquarium, standing proudly at the northern tip of the island, showcases the biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea in a setting that melds modern scientific pursuit with architectural beauty. This facility not only serves as a vital research centre but also as a window to the underwater world for visitors, making it a must-visit for those intrigued by marine life.

Palazzo del Governatore (Governor’s Palace)

The Governor’s Palace is an exemplary representation of the Italian Rationalist style, conceived during the Italian rule. Today, it houses the Prefecture of the Dodecanese, symbolizing administrative continuity amidst evolving architectural landscapes. Its grandeur and historic significance render it a landmark of Rhodes’ architectural heritage.

Grande Albergo delle Rose (Casino of Rhodes)

The Grande Albergo delle Rose, now hosting the Casino of Rhodes, epitomizes luxury and Italianate architectural elegance. Initially designed to serve the elite, today, it welcomes visitors from around the globe, offering a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the past blended with modern entertainment amenities.

Mercato Nuovo (New Market)

The New Market, a hub of commerce and social interaction, mirrors the multicultural essence of Rhodes. Architecturally, it combines local and colonial influences, creating a vibrant space where goods, cultures, and histories intersect, offering an authentic experience of the island’s bustling life.

Circolo Italia (Aktaión)

Circolo Italia, also known as Aktaión, serves as a cultural beacon, originally intended as a gathering spot for the Italian community. It stands as a testament to the cultural exchange and social interaction that defined Rhodes during the Italian occupation, embodying the fusion of architectural and societal elements.

Banca d’Italia (Bank of Greece)

Originally serving as the Banca d’Italia, the present-day Bank of Greece in Rhodes is a monument to the economic ambitions and architectural foresight of the Italian era, showcasing the blend of functionality and aesthetic refinement characteristic of the period’s urban development initiatives.

Casa del Fascio (Town Hall)

The Town Hall, once known as Casa del Fascio, is a striking example of fascist architecture adapted to local conditions, embodying the political and social aspirations of the time. Today, it functions as a civic centre, playing a pivotal role in the public life of Rhodes.

Palazzo di Giustizia (Courthouse)

The Courthouse stands as an emblem of justice and order, reflecting the architectural and administrative legacies of the Italian occupation. Its imposing façade and structured design contribute profoundly to the island’s governmental landscape.

Caserma Regina (University of the Aegean)

Now housing the University of the Aegean, Caserma Regina transitions from a military barracks to a beacon of learning and innovation. It symbolizes the continual adaptation of spaces to meet the evolving educational and cultural needs of society.

Palazzo delle Poste (Post Office)

The Post Office building combines functionality with aesthetic appeal, mirroring the modernist influences of the Italian rule while serving the practical needs of the island’s inhabitants. Its enduring role in facilitating communication underscores the dynamic interplay between tradition and innovation in Rhodes’ architectural evolution.

Religious Influences on Rhodes Architecture

The religious landscape of Rhodes is as diverse and storied as its history, with each ruling era leaving an indelible mark on the island’s spiritual architecture.

The fusion of religious influences is evident in the numerous sanctuaries, chapels, and mosques that adorn the city, each telling a story of faith and endurance through centuries.

Our Lady of the Castle (Panagia tou Kastrou)

Our Lady of the Castle, also known as Panagia tou Kastrou, represents a paramount piece of the religious and architectural mosaic of Rhodes. This Byzantine church, nestled within the walls of the Medieval City, dates back to the 11th century and showcases the profound religious changes and historical shifts the island has witnessed.

Initially an Orthodox cathedral, it was converted into a Catholic church during the Knights Hospitaller’s rule, illustrating the island’s diverse spiritual heritage. Its architecture is a fascinating amalgamation of Byzantine and Gothic elements, with remnants of exquisite frescoes hinting at its past grandeur.

Today, Our Lady of the Castle stands as a testament to Rhodes’ rich cultural tapestry and offers visitors a unique glimpse into the island’s historical religious syncretism.

Kahal Shalom Synagogue

Reflecting the island’s multicultural tapestry, the Kahal Shalom Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old Town stands as the oldest synagogue in Greece, dating back to 1577. This historic building embodies the enduring spirit of the Jewish community in Rhodes.

With its unique Ets Hayim (Tree of Life) floor design and the adjoining museum documenting Jewish life on the island, the Kahal Shalom Synagogue serves as a crucial link to understanding the diverse cultural and religious history of Rhodes.

The Mosque of Murad Reis

Another significant religious edifice is the Mosque of Murad Reis, located in the district of Rodini. Named after the distinguished Ottoman admiral and pirate, Murad Reis, this mosque is an exemplar of Ottoman religious architecture in Rhodes.

Though smaller and lesser-known than Suleiman’s Mosque, it is equally imbued with history, featuring an elegant minaret and a tranquil cemetery where Murad Reis is buried. The mosque and its surroundings offer a serene glimpse into the Islamic heritage of the island, enriching the cultural mosaic that defines Rhodes.

Cattedrale di San Giovanni (Cathedral of the Annunciation)

This cathedral, blending Gothic and Renaissance cues under the Italian mandate, plays a crucial role in the religious and cultural tapestry of Rhodes. Its architectural distinction and spiritual significance mark it as a sanctuary of tranquillity and contemplation amidst the island’s bustling activity.

Mehmet Agha Mosque

In the heart of Rhodes’ Old Town lies the Mehmet Agha Mosque, a testament to Ottoman influence. Built in the late 18th century, it showcases typical Ottoman architecture with intricate calligraphy inside. Unlike grand mosques, it offers an intimate view of the island’s Muslim history. Today, it serves as a cultural bridge, reflecting Rhodes’ diverse heritage. A must-visit for a glimpse into Rhodes’ rich history.

Suleymaniye Mosque

The Suleymaniye Mosque in Rhodes, a symbol of Ottoman grandeur, was built in the 16th century as a spiritual sanctuary and a representation of Ottoman dominance on the island. This architectural gem features classic Ottoman styling with a majestic dome, a graceful minaret, and beautifully adorned interiors. Beyond a place of worship, it stands as a historical treasure, offering a glimpse into Rhodes’ diverse heritage. Discover this masterpiece blending seamlessly into Rhodes’ historical fabric.

Preserving the Past, Pioneering the Future

The enigmatic charm of Rhodes’ architecture is not relegated to the annals of history but lives on in the collective consciousness of the island’s inhabitants and in the hearts of its visitors.

Restoration and Renovation

Modern Rhodes stands as a successful example of architectural restoration and preservation, ensuring that the island’s heritage remains intact. It is a balanced narrative that marries the old with the new, turning Rhodes into a dynamic museum where history unfolds with every step.

Inviting Virtual Exploration

For the uninitiated and the enthusiasts alike, a virtual exploration of Rhodes’ architecture is an odyssey to be undertaken. With the click of a button, one can traverse time and space, immersing in the grace of these structures from the comfort of home.


Rhodes’ architecture goes beyond visuals—it’s a bridge from past to present. The mix of styles and stories showcase the island’s enduring spirit. Whether an architecture enthusiast or just curious, Rhodes’ buildings invite contemplation of time’s impact on our world.