Rhodes Dodecanese Guide Page 8

The New Town

the town of RhodesToo-expensive cafes sit at the waterfront by Mandraki harbor. The New Market is behind them, which was built by the Italians in the shape of an octagon. Instead of the vegetables of not long ago, souvkaki and gyros-Greece's favorite fast foods--are sold. The theatre, post office and dimarheio (town hall) beyond them, were built by the Italians during the 1920s in bleak Mussolini style. They also built the garish Governor's Palace, and the Cathedral Evangelismos (which copies St. John's, the cathedral blown up in the gunpowder incident). There is also a fountain copied from Viterbo's Gothic Fontana Grande. There's a cemetery north of the theater, next to the Mosque of Murad Reis, named for the admiral of the Egyptian Sultan, who was killed during the siege of Rhodes in 1522. His tomb is shaped like a turban. Near here is Elli Beach, horrifically crowded and packed with beach umbrellas and sunbeds, and by the sea a diving platform for high divers.

The Aquarium, (open daily April to Sept 9am -9pm; Oct to March 9am to 4:30pm;1.75 euros) at the northernmost tip of Rhodes (officially called the 'Hydrobiological Institute"), was built in 1938 by the Italians. It is the only one in all of Greece, and has a pair of sea turtles over one hundred years old, and a collection of stuffed fish, as well as tanks of live ones. Aquarium Beach is windy, and popular with wind-surfers and paragliders. The same is true of appropriately-named Windy Beach, but better for swimming is Psaropoula (and also sandy). There are some coves south of there with good swimming if there isn't much wind, but women should be forewarned that the area is nicknamed 'Flasher's Paradise'.

To the southeast of the Aquarium is Villa Cleobolus, the home of English writer Lawrence Durrell during the second half of the 1940s.

Ancient Rhodes Town

South of the New Town in a wooded area is Hellenistic Rhodes (southwest of Mandraki) on the hill of Aghios Stefanos. The ancient acropolis is rather comically named Monte Smith after Admiral Sydney Smith who was posted here in 1802 to keep an eye on Napoleon's Egyptian forays. It was identified in 1916 and partially excavated during the 1920s.

Tourists come here for the nice sunsets. A 2nd century BC Doric Temple of Pythian Apollo was reconstructed on top of Monte Smith by the Italians, as well as the 3rd century BC Stadium, where classical plays are sometimes staged in the summer. There are also some columns from temples of Zeus and Athena. The Ancient Theater is the only square theater found on the islands.

Rodhini Park south of town 2km on road to Lindos. City Bus #3 goes there. On the ravine here (Zimbouli) are ducks, a natural spring, peacocks (in pens) and native deer from Rhodes, said to have been imported by the ancient Rhodians on the counsel of the Delphic oracle as a solution to their snake problem. There are many trees here, including cypress, pine, oleander, and maple. The park is on the site of the Ancient School of Rhetoric of Aeschines (330BC), at which Julius Caesar and Cicero learned to speak eloquently.

The rock-cut Hellenistic 'Tomb of Ptolemy'. (4th century BC) is nearby, on a sign-posted side road, and there are also ruins of an aqueduct. The Knights grew medicinal herbs here. In late July-early August the Rhodes Wine Festival is held here.

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