Almost every girl dreams of a handsome and courteous knight on a white horse. As the years pass, you realise that such men exist only in fairy tales. Or maybe not? A mere walk in the Old Town of Rhodes turns the calendar back on the Medieval times, when knights and white horses were real.
The order of the Knights of St. John have left palpable traces on the mediterranean island during the 213-year conquest (1309-1522). The Knights were actually divided into “tongues“, according to ethno- linguistic criteria, and lived among the walls of the Old Town. On the long “street of the Knights” you pass from the houses of the tongues, where the knights gathered, discussed and hosted important guests. The curved crests over the heavy bronze doors inform the pedestrians about the nature of each house.
The Palace of the Grand Master is located on the one end of the street and is visible from afar, as it surpasses the height of the walls. With a general admission of six euros, one can visit both exhibitions on the ground flour and the rooms of the palace on the first floor. The internal yard is very pretty and lets you admire the building by just a self rotation. Of course, Castello was not always as peaceful as it is now. It served precarious purposes, as a fortress in periods of war and as a jail during the Turkish occupation.
A grande marble staircase leads you to the first floor. There, is exhibited a copy of the famous Laocoon Statue, which is clearly a hint that the original was in fact created by three Rhodian sculptors. Later on, you wander around the spacious chambers with the high ceilings and the mosaic floors. The view of the old Town and the yard does acquire an extra value, seen from the high wooden windows of the palace.
No matter how often I visit this island it never seizes to surprise me by its slowly revealing secrets. Something tells me that my dreams tonight will be sprinkled by some fairy tale dust..