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Ialissos, Overall a good family destination

Written by Bryan
We stayed in Ialissos. If I were on my honeymoon or single, I would choose another island (or perhaps I would choose another part of Rhodes), but for a family with small children, or a wind/kite surfer, or people who don't want to be in a total party spot, Ialissos works just fine.
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Palace of the Grand Master

The palace of the Grand Master, or Kastello, is built at the highest point of the medieval city, to the north-west, and its volumes dominate the city and its harbour. It was a strong structure, indissolubly linked with the fortifications, and played an active role in the defence of the city, forming the last refuge of the population in the event of the city boiling to the enemy.

The palace of the Grand Master is a roughly square building (dim: 80x75 m) designed around a large courtyard (dim: ca. 50x40 m). Built at the end of the 7th c., to act as the citadel of the Early Byzantine 'fortress', it continued to play this role throughout the Byzantine period and the period of the Knights of St. John (1309-1522). The building was modified before the Knights established themselves on the. island; from the first quarter of the 14th c. the Knights began to repair the Byzantine citadel and convert it into the residence of the Grand Master and administrative centre of their state. The main entrance is in the south facade, flanked by two imposing towers. The west facade is pierced by a gate, in front of which rises a tall, square tower, probably the work of the Grand Master Pierre d'Aubusson (1476-1503).

On the north side there are underground rooms that served as storerooms; and it was probably in these that pad of the civilian population took refuge in the event of an enemy attack. The ground floor was occupied by small and large vaulted rooms, set around a square courtyard, which were used as ancillary rooms. In about the middle of the 19th c., the first floor collapsed completely, and very little of it survived until 1937, and the beginning of 'restoration' work. On the first floor were various official rooms, such as the 'Great Council Chamber' and the dining room, as well as the private quarters of the Grand Master, which were commonly known as 'Margaritae'.

During the period of Italian rule, a chapel was built to the right of the monumental marble staircase leading up to the first floor. In it was erected a bronze statue of Saint Nicholas, a copy of the work of that name by Donatello, in Bari . Floor mosaics of late Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian times have been laid in many of the rooms on the first floor, most of them taken from buildings on Kos .

During the period of Turkish rule, the palace was used as a prison, and it continued to have this function under the Italians, until the decision was taken to 'restore' the building. Two major permanent exhibitions may be visited in the ground-floor rooms: on the north side, the exhibition entitled 'The city of Rodos from its foundation (408/7 BC) to the Roman period' and on the south-west side, next to the chapel, the exhibition 'Rodos from the 4th c. AD to its capture by the Turks (1522)'.


Open Daily except Mondays 08:30 - 15:00 *
Mondays 13.30 -19.40 *

* Valid during Summer



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