Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes - History and Facts | History Hit

Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes

Rhodes, Dhmos Rodoy, Greece

The Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes was the base of the Knights Hospitaller of St John.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020

About Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes

The Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes was the palace of the Knights Hospitaller of St John. Dating to the fourteenth century (circa 1309), the Grandmasters Palace would be the base of this famous Christian and military order until Rhodes was captured by the Ottomans in 1522.

Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes history

The Grand Master’s Palace of the Knights of St. John sits at the end of a scenic Medieval street. It was built under the rule of Grand Master H. de Villeneuve (1319 – 1346)  on the site of a 7th century Byzantine fortress. This imposing building was used as the residence of the Grand Master but functioned also as the main administrative seat of the Order and the social-cultural centre of the island.

After the Ottoman occupation of Rhodos in 1522, the building lost its importance and was mainly used as a prison. Several earthquakes progressively damaged the building until, in 1865,  a devastating explosion in the nearby basement of the church of St. John, used as an arsenal by the Ottomans,  turned the Palace into a mass of ruins.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the palace was restored by the Italians who occupied the Dodecanese islands at that time. In the 1930s extensive restoration works were carried out. In the years that followed, it served as a holiday residence for the King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III and for Benito Mussolini.

Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes today

Today the Grand Master’s Palace serves as a  museum and exhibition centre. The ground floor hosts two permanent exhibitions of the ancient and medieval city of Rhodes, while on the first floor the visitors can admire the restored magnificent halls of the Palace, as well as the remarkable floor mosaics. The mosaics are from the late Hellenistic period originally mainly from Kos, moved there during the Italian restoration to adorn the space.

It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Medieval City of Rhodes. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.

Getting to the Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes

The palace is situated within the Medieval City of Rhodes. It is around 40 minutes drive from Rhodes Diagoras International Airport.

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