The museum is housed in the monumental edifice that was the hospital of the Knights of St. John . Its construction begun in 1440 and brought to completion in the time of the Grand Master d'Aubusson (1476-1503). The items on display in the Museum come from various parts of Rodos and the neighbouring islands.
Visitors enter the building by way of the main entrance on the east side and find themselves in a large interior courtyard surrounded by vaulted porticoes, on the architectural model of the Byzantine inn. In front of the colonnade of the west portico stands a late Hellenistic tombstone in the form of a lion with the head of a bull between its front paws. Immediately in front of the pedestal on which the lion stands is a floor mosaic that has been transported from an Early Christian basilica at Arkasa on Karpathos . To the south of the main courtyard there is a smaller interior court, the floor of which incorporates another floor mosaic from an Early Christian basilica at Arkasa .
A monumental staircase at the east end of the south side of the main courtyard leads up to a timber-roofed balcony on the first floor. Exhibition rooms open on to the north, west and south sides of this balcony, containing objects - mainly pottery - most of to from the Italian excavations ( the period 1912-1948). Room 1-3 in the South wing, and three of the rooms in the West wing (6-8) house finds from the region of ancient lalysia (9th-4th c. BC). In the North wing (rooms 9-15) are exhibited vases found during the excavations of the acropolis of ancient Kamiros and the cemeteries in the surrounding area. The East wing of this floor is occupied by the large hall (1) that was the patient's ward of the Knights' hospital. This has a central colonnade on the long axis, and a small chapel with an apse projecting on the east facade of the building. This room contains a display of tombstones of Knights and coats-of arms from various buildings dating from the period of the Knights.
Some fine examples of sculpture from Rodos and the neighbouring islands are exhibited in the rooms to the south of the balcony (11-VI) and in the Museum atrium. Room 11, which was the refectory of the Knights' hospital, contains many funerary sculptures from Late Antiquity. The most important exhibit in the small Room VI is a Roman portrait that has been identified as a copy of statue of Menander , the writer of New Comedy (4th c. BC); another interesting exhibit here is a pad of a funerary or votive relief on which is preserved a scene of a quadriga and Nike .
Room III (the kitchen of the Knights' hospital) contains an exhibition of archaic sculpture, and Classical and Hellenistic funerary relieves.The grave stele of Krito and Timarista (ca. 410 BC) has been set against the west wall of the main pad of the room; this was carved by a local artist influenced by the masterpieces of ad on the Parthenon in Athens .
The two Rooms IV and V contain Hellenistic and Roman sculptures. In room IV we may note the statue of the Marine Aphrodite in the type of the Pudica; this probably dates from the late 4th c. BC, or is possibly a late Hellenistic reworking of an earlier model; also the archaistic Hekataeon and the porphyry head of Silenos, of the middle Hellenistic period. Room V houses a number of small-scale sculptures, many of them representative of the light style that flourished in the late Hellenistic period, which is conventionally called 'Hellenistic rococo'. A good example of this is the small statue of Crouching Aphrodite , a 1st c. BC work. The Museum atrium contains various statues and fragments of funerary monuments. A floor mosaic from Arkasa on Karpathos has been laid in the recess on the south side of the atrium, and at the back of the recess stands a reconstruction of a tombstone in the form of a small temple, housing a trophy.
Open daily 08.00-19.40 - Mondays 13.30-19.40
Entrance fee: 3.00 euro
Address Museum Square, Medieval Town
Tel: 22410 25500