Rhodes is the largest island of the Dodecanese archipelago and serves as the capital of the Greek Islands. Located between the isles of Karpathos and Kos, Rhodes is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. Rhodes is most famous for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Colossus was a large statue that stood over 30 meters high before it was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 BC.
Over the years, there has been much debate over whether to rebuild Colossus (to attract more tourists to the island). In the fall of 2008, Dr. Dimitris Koutoulas announced that he would be in charge of constructing a “light sculpture” of Colossus that will cost over 200 million euros to create.
However, even without Colossus, millions of visitors flock here each year to visit the well- preserved Venetian castleconstructed by theKnights of Saint John in the beginning of the 13th century. Rhodes’ numerous Byzantine churches are also a major tourist draw. In addition, the citadel of Rhodes is one of the most famous medieval towns in all of Europe, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
During my time on the island, I enjoyed my visits to these famous historical sites, as well as to two of Rhodes’ most celebrated museums, The Museum of Modern Greek Art and The Archeological Museum of Rhodes.
The Museum of Modern Greek Art
The Museum of Modern Greek Art is comprised of three buildings, all located in the medieval part of the island. It houses one of the largest collections of 20th and 21st century Greek art, including paintings, prints, sculptures, drawings, and calligraphed documents. Some of the artists featured in this collection of over 1000 works include modern Greek masters such as Maleas, Parthenis, Theofilos, Tsarouchis, Bouzianis, Chanzikiriakos, Ghikas, and Moralis. The Museum of Modern Greek Art was founded in 1959 and regularly hosts site specific installations and lectures and seminars, publishes books and pamphlets to accompany its shows, and participates in international art festivals and exhibitions.
The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is also located in the Medieval City. It is housed in a lovely two-story medieval building, which served as the hospital of the Knights of St. John in the 15th century. Here, you can expect to see fascinating relics and objects from all eras of the island’s history on display. Some of the museum’s highlights include tombs and various vases, jewelry, and figurines from the Geometric and Classical periods. Be sure to stop by the atrium to see the collection of statues, funerary monuments (including funerary slabs from the medieval era), and the intricate mosaic floor from Arkasa, Karpathos on the south side of the atrium.
During the two days I spent on the lovely island of Rhodes, I barely scratched the surface of its rich and complex history. It is definitely on my list of places to visit again, hopefully in the near future.
Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for EuropeUpClose.com