Today, Rhodes bears traces of all the cultures and
conquerers who've taken a turn here.
On one street you might see an ancient Greek ruin between a
mosque and a Crusader castle.
Not that Rhodes is one massive, moldy museum. Rhodes is
perhaps the most cosmopolitan of all the Greek Islands - a jet-set mecca for
sightseers, sunbathers, boaters, gamblers, disco boys, shoppers, eaters,
Along Mandraki Harbor, where the Colossus stood, luxury yachts bob alongside brightly painted
Greek fishing boats.
Medieval windmills stand in rows along the jetty. Cafes crowd sidewalks under the castle walls.
A domed Turkish marketplace with a grand arched entrance jostles a neo-Gothic Italian church. A sprawling and
garish Italian governor's palace sits abandoned by the beach like something out of a horror film.
Rhodes is famous for its nightlife. Both old and new sectors have good bars and restaurants
ranging in price from dirt cheap to outrageous. There's a casino by the sea, and discos with names like Playboy,
including one in a former Turkish mosque.
There's lots to do by day as well. Shops sell everything from tacky schlock to furs and gold.
There's an aquarium, an archeological museum in the old knight's hospital and, on the hill above Rhodes town, a
restored Greek temple, stadium and odeon.
There are sandy, secluded beaches along both coasts. Some of the best are near Lindos, a
picturesque seaside town built on a steep promontory, where a Crusaders' castle and ancient Greek acropolis
overlook a jumble of white-washed, sugar-cube houses and donkey-wide streets that twist down the hill to a
By Lindos' beach, in a harbor where St. Paul's boat once anchored, Greek ladies sit like
black-wrapped mummies watching bronzed, naked sunbathers splash in the surf.
There are a few pensions in Lindos but since no modern hotel construction is permitted, you are
best to make a day trip from Rhodes town unless you have accommodations booked in advance.
Rhodes has modern style hotels in the new town, and rather grotty but affordable pensions in the
Old. The tourist office behind the market will help you find a room.
Of course, no place is perfect. Rhodes is one of the most
expensive of the Greek Islands and gets crowded in the summer (fall or spring
vacations are cheaper, with much more elbow room).
But for all this, Rhodes' mix of history and hedonism makes
it - Colossus or no Colossus - a wonderful place to be.
The effigy of Helios may be long gone but this beautiful
island is still the sun god's special domain.