The island chosen by the god
Today the most picturesque Mandraki harbour is embellished by Elafos and Elafina, the statues of male and female deer which stand on columns where used to stood Colossus. Millionaires' yachts and old fishing boats lazy swaying on the water, St. Nicholas Fortress built in the 14th century is located at the end pier of the harbour and the lighthouse and medieval windmills give it a special charm. Opposite to Mandraki Harbor stands long, white building with a magnificent entrance. This is New Market Hall with a number of cafes and a lot of jewellery and gift shops. Times have changed. Have they?
When you approach the walls of the Old Town of Rhodes you are about to enter the place where knights lived in the past. They built 4 km long defensive walls, at some places more than 12 meters thick to protect the town, and 21 meters wide moat which has never been filled with water. The town was divided in two parts: the northern part included the Acropolis of the Knights and the Palace of the Grand Master which houses a collection of 16th and 17th century furniture and Roman mosaic floors, while the southern part included Hora were common people lived.
Numerous shops and cafes found their places between perfectly preserved Gothic, Byzantines and Italian architecture and you could wander among narrow streets and alleys of the Old Town for hours. Fountains, museums, churches, mosques and Turkish baths make harmonious entirety of that 26 century old town.
Some of the streets and squares are named by famous ancient Greek scientists and orators while others are simply left with no name. One of the most gorgeous streets of them all is the Street of the Knights. This street was used exclusively to accommodate the knights when they visited the island. Don't look just ahead while walking through the street. Take a look at the symbols above the doors and you will see coats of arms of most of the Grand Masters who ruled the island.
The clock is ticking and it's time to leave the capital and see what the island has to offer. Ialyssos, the second-largest town on the island and a hot spot for everybody in love with surfing, is situated on the northern part of the island. The most important international windsurfing competitions often take place here and the town is considered as a famous cosmopolitan resort. Ialyssos is also known by a Byzantine Saint Nicholas church and its stunning frescoes dating back to the 15th century.
Kalithea lies on the east coast of the island some ten kilometres away from the capital. It is famous for its hot springs and historic baths, beautiful scenery, sandy beaches and the amazing facilities boasting some of the best hotels in Rhodes. A great place to spend vacation. Near Kalithea lies Faliraki. The village is the home of one of the best beaches on the island, rich with restaurants and cafeterias. A small fisherman's village once, today Faliraki is a synonym for night life and shopping.
Find the invisible. The village of Afandou ("afandos" is a Greek word for invisible) is one of the oldest villages on the island well protected by mountains and hard to spot from the sea which was of utmost importance as the protection from pirates. Afandou is famous for its carpets and a huge beach and it hosts some of the best golf courses.
As the cream on the top of the cake visit Lindos, the most beautiful ancient village on the whole island situated on the south east coast of the island. Picturesque white painted houses shape an arch around the hill with the Acropolis at its top. While wandering around it is easy to be lost in a labyrinth of narrow paved streets, colourful courtyards and mosaics for which Lindos is famous. Visit Acropolis and the church of Panagia in the heart of Lindos and enjoy its superb sandy beaches. ■