2019 Greek Odyssey – Day 15 Part 3

The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, also known as the Kastello, is a medieval castle in the city of Rhodes, on the island of Rhodes in Greece. It is one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece.  Constructed in the 14th century by the Knights of Saint John, it was originally built on the foundations of the Temple of Sun God (Helios), whose cult was much spread in Rhodes in the antiquity.  This palace was the residence of the Governor and administrative centre in Medieval times.

I get to the entrance and am told that there is free admission today – a bonus to put a smile on my rather bedraggled and hot face – so in I go and walking through the arched gateway, I am amazed by the most spacious courtyard – above right.

Seemingly guarding the courtyard are numerous statues of Roman Emperors, which were excavated from the Odeon of Kos (theatre) on the nearby Greek Island of Kos. The statues are located in ten silos that are on the north side of the courtyard. I have no idea who they are as there are no details.

At one side of the courtyard is a staircase leading to the upper floor – there is also a 2 column doorway and a covered loggia.

The palace is enormous in size. It has 158 rooms, although today only 24 are open to visitors. The rooms have antique furniture from the 16th and the 17th century, exquisite multi-coloured mosaics, sculptures, carpets and fine Oriental vases.

On the ground floor near the Grand Staircase is a statue of the Madonna and Child (left). In the centre is the Angel Gabriel with Mary and right is heading towards the Grand Staircase.

Before I climb the stairs however, there is a small chapel on the right hand side.

It is sparsley decorated, there are no wall hangings just the basic requirements for a chapel to operate.

There is no sign before you enter – so no information which means more exploration on the web when I get home.

There is no-one in here and is very quiet.  No chairs to sit and reflect so it’s a couple of photos and then I am back outside to confront those stairs.

As I climb I stay safe and keep to the wall side, it is a long climb to the top so I stop every now and again to take more photos, and also to catch my breath.

On the first floor, there are the official rooms as well as the private quarters of the Grand Master. The most important rooms are the Grand Reception Hall, the Waiting Room, the impressive ballroom and the elegant Music Room, while not to miss the numerous mosaics.

I have no idea what room is what as there are no signs – so I will just put in the photos and tell you as much as I can.

This is the first room I enter once I climb the stairs.  On the floor are wonderful mosaics, suitably roped off from those tourists and their big feet.

The mosaics are wonderful, especially the one of the dolphins dating from the middle of the 3rd century – I think it is my favourite. 

Anything to do with dolphins always makes me happy. They are such playful creatures and obviously they were much loved in ancient times.

This is the full mosaic showing two dolphins flanking a trident.

The fish mosaic above shows fish and molluscs arranged in six lines.  It dates from the 2nd half of the 3rd c AD.

Also in this room are statues – once again no information but they hold rather large candles.

Moving on – I cannot remember if I am in a different room or still in the same one – I will just add the photos and a bit of info –

Above is the shield depicting the head of Medusa dating from the late 3rd – mid 4th century AD.

Below left  is another mosaic – a leopard framed by bands decorated with diamonds, crosses, interlaced ribbons and isosceles triangles.  The central theme dates from the 2nd half of the 3rd c AD – the decorative bands are 4th c AD.

Above right is a copy of the sculpture of Laocoön and His Sons.  The original is a sculpture from the Hellenistic Period 323 BCE – 31 CE. Following its discovery in a Roman vineyard in 1506, it was placed in the Vatican, where it remains today.

Back to the copy – this piece portrays a story from the collection of poems detailing the Trojan War. According to legend, Laocoon was a priest from Troy, who—along with his two sons, Antiphantes and Thymbraeus—was attacked by sea serpents sent by a god. The three figures frantically try to free themselves from the grasp of serpents but no matter how much they twist and turn, they remain entangled, culminating in a swirling mass of snakes and limbs.

Moving right along – we pass through an archeological dig site –

It is being left like this so that we can see how they have gone or still going about uncovering the mosaics from the palace.  How wonderful it would be to carry out the painstaking work – brushing each and every little tile and then in the end to see the product of your labours.

There is a lot of earth yet to be removed – so maybe we will never see the finished product.

I am nearly at the end of my journey through the Palace – I wish there had been more information boards – but not to worry.  It has been a fascinating journey through this period of time and I know that, when I get back home, I will do more research on both the Grand Palace and the Knights of St John.

Our last mosaic is a mythological scene related either to the contest between Athena and Poseidon for the land of Attica or that between Poseidon and the giant Polybotes and the creation of the volcanic island of Nisyros.  My money is on Athena and Poseidon.  In the centre is a naked Victory.  On the left of the mosaic is a Triton.

Saying goodbye and walking out that fabulous gate I head back down the Street of the Knights and toward the harbour.

Time for some cool refreshment – a nice little outdoorsy cafe – Greco Food and Drink – lots of shade right near the harbour – so I order an Iced Frappe – just a fancy name for Iced Coffee.  It was delicious.  I gather myself and prepare for the walk back to the hotel – past the harbour with that oh so blue water and lovely breeze.

To be truthful it is good to get back into the air conditioning.  I must admit I and my foots are tired out so time for a cool shower and a bit of sleep and then I will think about dinner back at Napoleon’s.

My second dinner here and I am welcomed back and guided to ‘my table’.  The people here are so nice – I decide on the Calamari  which I am assured is sourced locally and when they bring it out I think so much for all that walking – here comes the return of the weight.

Does this not look delicious? Together with the usual glass of wine dinner cost me Eur 14.20 – with another free glass of ouzo once I had finished eaten.

Tomorrow is another tour – sailing to Lindos and swimming in the Aegean – now it is time for some relaxing sleep – making sure all the batteries are on the chargers before my head hits the pillow – –