April 4, 2013

0585 GREECE (South Aegean) - Medieval City of Rhodes (UNESCO WHS)

When you say Rhodes, you're thinking to Colossus of Rhodes (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and to Knights Hospitaller, but its history was much longer and more complex. Having the shape of a spearhead targeted to Asia Minor coast, found at just 18 km, Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands. Even if it passed through many hands, from Persians and Romans to Byzantines, Arabs, Genoese, Knights Hospitaller, Ottomans and Italians, the island has always been inhabited mainly by Greeks, in 1947 uniting it with Greece.

Its capital city is located even in the tip of the spearhead, and the citadel, built by the Hospitalliers, was designated in 1988 an UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the name Medieval City of Rhodes, because is considered one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. The Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem established theirs headquarters on Rhodes after they left Acre (with a stopover in Cyprus), and will remain on the island for the next two centuries, until 1522, when the newly enthroned Suleiman the Magnificent will banish them what's right with huge losses. After the conquest, despite earlier promises made to ​​Janissaries ("the stones and earth belong to the sultan, but blood and the goods will belong to the victors!"), and even the subsequent threats ("neither the cats will not be spared"), Suleiman has limited the plunder after the conquest, and over the following centuries the Ottomans brought their own contribution to the city's architecture.

The medieval city is encircled by a wall 4 km long, with six main gates, and is divided according to the Western classical style, with the high town (entirely built by the Knights Hospitallers) to the north and the lower town south-south-west. In the north-east of Old Town is the Jewish Quarter, where still are some houses with Hebrew inscriptions, the Jewish cemetery and the Square of the Jewish Martyrs (Plateia ton Martiron Evreon) also known as Sea Horse Square because of the sea horse fountain that is there (in the postcard). The square commemorates the 1,604 Jews who were rounded up there and sent to their deaths at Auschwitz. Only 151 survived the Holocaust, and today live in the city only about 40.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Acheron River (Epirus) is part of the series Touring, about which I wrote here.

Rhodes (city) - Wikipedia
La Juderia - Rhodes Jewish Museum
The History of the Jewish Community of Rhodes - Jewish Community of Rhodes

sender: Milda Kriukaite (direct swap)
sent from Rhodes City (South Aegean / Greece), on 30.01.2013 

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