Thursday, 10 October 2013

Fortresses and Sieges in Rhodes

Tuesday 1 October 2013. We are making our way around the coast of Rhodes from our cruise ship Thomson Celebration. We are heading for the site of the famous Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

We have been walking outside the city walls but now come to a place where they cross the road to a small fortress on a point of the coast. We walk through this archway into the fortress.

This is our view immediately after walking into the fortress. The set of stairs on the right are the only way up to the fighting platform around the walls. Miss Franny likes railings with her stairs so stayed on the ground whilst I went up and around the fort on the platform.

This is the Gate of St Paul. The Apostle came to Rhodes on his third missionary journey, though this gate and fortress is a much later addition. Under the archway a beggar woman sits with her bowl.

The view from over the arch. Miss Franny in white and red is matching at least two other visitors so is definitely on trend today! She's the one leaning against the wall on the right. Over the walls the blue funnel of our ship can be seen behind a sailing ship.

I came back down and we walked through the Gate of St Paul and over a small bridge. Apparently there is a bas relief of the saint on the fortress wall somewhere round here but we didn't see it. At the time I didn't know of it, so we didn't look, to be honest. It may have been staring us in the face...

This view of the gate shows the bridge we walked over. There's a fair amount of damage evident on the external wall of the fortress and a plentiful supply of stone cannon balls littered about the place. The fortress dates from 14th to 16th century, the period when the Knights Hospitallers raised or repaired the many imposing defences which can still be seen in Rhodes. They bought the island in 1309 and defended it several times successfully. However after a six months siege they were forced to surrender to Suleiman the Magnificent on 29 December 1522. The Knights were evicted and were found a new home in Malta, becoming known as the Knights of Malta.

Some of the cannon balls left over presumably from the fighting. They bear the marks of the impact against the wall. Well either that or they were specially made to be set up along the sea road to stop cars from driving over the side of the road into the sea... Several have been used for just that purpose.

Well we didn't quite make it to the site of the Colossus yet, but we will see it for certain in the next entry!

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