The Palace of the Grand Master
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights or Castello is standing proud in the northwestern part of the medieval city of Rhodes at the highest point of the castle and is probably the most important monument of the period of the knights. It creates feelings of awe to every visitor that comes and believe me there are many of them every year. At the point where is now built the palace, was standing the Acropolis of Ancient Rhodes and after that the Byzantium Acropolis of the 7th century.
But in the 14th century Rhodes was conquered by the Knights of St. Ioannis order. They were the ones that decided to rebuilt the Acropolis but not as it was but as a palace that except from the administrative center of the Knights and home to the Grand Master was going also to be headquarters of the ruling social and intellectual class of Rhodes.
When the island was conquered by the Ottomans, they used the half-destroyed (by the siege)palace as a prison. The final blow was struck in 1856 when after an explosion of ammunition (that was stored in the basement) the palace was totally destroyed.
When in 1912, Rhodes came to the Kingdom of Italy, the Italians rebuilt the palace in the period 1937-1940 under the supervision of the Italian commander of the Dodecanese de Vekki, giving it a medieval look and making it the office relevant of Italian commander of the island and summer residence of King Victor Emmanuel the Third and later Benito Mussolini, whose name is still a huge slab near the entrance. Unfortunately the construction altered many areas of the original palace, but still the effect is so impressive!
As it comes to the form that the palace has today, paying the little price ticket of 6 euros you can see everything inside. In the halls of the floor, the visitor can admire the mosaic floors that Italians brought mostly from secular and ecclesiastical buildings of the island in order to decorate the palace. Apart from the impressive mosaic, there are also columns and capitals, medieval furniture, mirrors, tables, kirostates and other items that complement the decor of the imposing edifice. A part of the ground floor of the palace, house a permanent exhibition entitled “The Rhodes from early times until the occupation by the Turks (1522). This includes several findings of excavations carried out in the Medieval City (pottery, sculptures detached wall paintings, icons, miniature works, etc.)
Don’t you lose any chance to see this marvelous building closely. And if you have many days to pass in Rhodes you could pay a 10-euro ticket that opens the door to many sightseeings and museums in the ancient town…!!! So.. Have a great-”knight”-time!!!