I was anxious to see the harbor where the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, had stood prior to its destruction by an earthquake in 226BC. As a result, we made the 1-hour flight from Athens to Rhodes during our 13-day Greece and Turkey trip to stay in Rhodes City, founded in 408BC.
Serving, along with Cyprus and Crete, as a barrier between Europe and the Middle East, Rhodes played a central role in the Byzantine silk and spice trading activity of the Mediterranean region. It’s harbor was a critical stopover for the vessels crossing back and forth across the unpredictable waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Our driver delivered us to our hotel in the medieval center of Rhodes City where we checked into the 19th century townhouse, the Nikos Takis Fashion Hotel. The townhouse was purchased by the well-known Greek fashion designers Nikos and Takis who used it for many years for private showings to celebrities (e.g., Sophia Loren, Liz Taylor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis). The guests would stay free of charge while being shown the latest line of clothing. It is rumored that Liz Taylor departed several weeks after her arrival with trunks for clothing. While the architecture is Italian there are definite Moorish influences which remind you of the many cultures that have influenced the island of Rhodes.
One of the many benefits of the hotel is its location near the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights and the Street of Knights. In 1309 Rhodes was conquered by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem who ruled and defended the island from Moorish attempts to invade until the 1500s. Today, you can walk the Street of Knights and imagine the knights disembarking from a ship only to climb up the street from Rhodes harbor to sleep on a stone bench inside of a 5’ x 7’ stone cell.
After settling into our rooms we ventured out into medieval Rhodes City, walking to Pizanias Fish Restaurant for a fresh seafood dinner. The owner, Yanni, greeted us as we walked under the arbor entrance. We were seated at an outdoor table and immediately served a carafe of Greek white wine. As we settled in, Yanni reviewed the fresh fish, caught that day, that he had available to prepare to our specification at the nearby outdoor grill. Orders placed, we relaxed with our wine and appetizer course of grilled calamari. As the sun began to set over the island of Rhodes, the dim lights came on under our arbor umbrella, while the courses of fresh fish continued to be delivered until we could eat no more. Our stroll back to Nikos Takis took us past small shops and restaurants opened for the cool evening hours of trade.
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.