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Olga Charami September 13th, Everyone else is within: This is, however, the romantic view; in truth, they are not alone, these wonderful ghosts. With them are tourists in their thousands, archaeologists, tour guides, artists, permanent residents, business people and touts, all continuing to write the history of the Old Town of Rhodes , a story which has been unfolding for the past 2, years.
And this is why I approach those mighty walls , four kilometers long, with some trepidation about what I will find. How harmoniously does the glorious and intriguing past coexist with the intensely tourism-oriented present? The monumental with the commercial? My first impression is one of awe. I suddenly find myself in a time of knights: It is not easy to absorb this. After they seized the island from the Turks in , they saw themselves as successors to the knights and set about restoring or reconstructing many of the medieval buildings.
The Knights Hospitaller of St. John captured Rhodes in In the Old Town, where they established their administrative center, there was already a fortified Byzantine settlement occupying , square meters which had been built on the site of an ancient city that dated back to BC.
The Knights expanded the area of the town to , square meters and protected it with three lines of defensive fortifications. This was also how they handed it over to the Ottomans , after a long siege in The new rulers made only slight alterations to the fortifications but changed the use and form of the buildings, converting some churches into mosques.
This area, named Kollakio , accounted for one-third of the old city. The remaining part, known as the Bourgo , was where the common people lived. The amalgam resulting from the coexistence and the exchange of different populations over the centuries is what makes the Old Town of Rhodes unique.