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The Palace of the Grand Master

Strolling around in the Medieval Town means to experience history. You will learn a lot, within an environment offering full facilities to the tourist, while at the same time it maintains the atmosphere of the past. The town took the form we know today during the period of the domination of Rhodes by the Knights of the Order of St. John, which lasted from the beginning of the 14th century up to 1522 when Rhodes was conquered by the Ottomans.

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The most important monument of the town is the Palace of the Grand Master, the governor of the town and of the island during the medieval times. The palace had been built as early as the 7th century, during the Byzantine period and served as the acropolis of the Byzantine castle. The building is found at the end of Odos Ippoton (Ippoton Street), opposite to the church of Aghios Ioannis (St. John).

During the period of the Knights, the palace was restored and several new buildings were added, in order to cover the services necessary for an administrative building and the residence of the Grand Master. It survived the siege of the Ottomans in 1522 thanks to its perfect construction, but it was destroyed when the neighboring church of Aghios Ioannis suffered an explosion. The Italians restored it in 1940, trying to keep its initial form. A few decades ago, the Greek State carried out extended restoration works, in order to make the place suitable to host the Meeting of the Council of the European Union. Nowadays it houses artistic exhibitions and various cultural events.

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The street leading to the Palace of the Grand Master, called “odos Ippoton” (the Knights’ street) is the most important street of the medieval town. 200 meters long and 6 meters wide, the street has at either side the houses of the Knights, whose blazons still survive on the gates of the buildings. Close to the entrance of the street you will see the Knights’ Hospital, the most important building of the period. Today the building houses the Archaeological Museum of the town of Rhodes. At the same street it is found the Church of Holy Trinity, dated in the 15th century.

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