Monolithos medieval castle: forgotten history of Greece


Monolithos Castle in Rhodes in the past was an impregnable fortress that protected the inhabitants of the island from invasions of foreigners and pirates. Today it looks more like a beautiful illustration for a fairy tale - this amphitheater-shaped structure is built on top of a cliff and rises 100 meters above the ground. One of his images is fascinating, and the panoramas of the Aegean Sea, islands, nature and the nearby town that open from the towers will forever remain in the memory of eyewitnesses.

The fortress, made in the Venetian style, was built in 1480 by the Knights of the Order of St. John, also known as the Knights Hospitallers.

In the Middle Ages, the fortification was of crucial strategic importance, because it made it possible to notice enemy ships from afar and notify the population of the danger in advance. The fortification building perfectly performed its functions, and no one has ever been able to capture it. Several centuries later, the need for protection fell away, the castle fell into decay, its main part collapsed. To date, there are only the ruins of a stone guard, but this is enough to feel the spirit of the Middle Ages and enjoy gorgeous views.

What to see

Curious places among the ruins of the once great fortress are few. Of greatest interest is the miraculously preserved white stone chapel of St. Paneteleimon of the 15th century, and even today it is active. Also noteworthy are the remains of a nearby older chapel and the surviving ancient tanks used as catchment areas.

The path upstairs runs along a winding staircase carved right in the rock - a traditional element of ancient Greek architecture. And if you go down to the foot of the mountain where the castle stands, on the south side you can relax on a small picturesque beach and swim in the sea, drink a refreshing cocktail or have a bite to eat in a cozy cafe.

If you want to even more immerse yourself in the history, life and life of local residents, you should visit the town of Monolithos of the same name with cobbled streets, miniature snow-white houses and the famous Greek red geranium.

Practical information

Address: Rhodes, Monolithos Attavyros, 85108.

To get to the place, you first need to get to the town of Monolithos from the island's capital. There is one bus running between the cities - it leaves from Rhodes (RODA Bus Station at Averof, 2) at 13:30, but the return flight only at the next day at 7:25 (there is a hotel for overnight in Monolithos). Arriving in Monolithos, you need to go about 3 km along the main road, following the signs, and then turn onto the path to the castle.

Entrance to the territory is free. You can come at any time.

Photo and description

70 km northwest of the capital of the island of Rhodes, off the coast of the Aegean Sea is the small picturesque town of Monolithos (which means “stone” in Greek). Like many settlements of Rhodes, Monolithos is located on the slopes of the hill and at its foot in the form of an amphitheater. Here you will see narrow, cobbled streets characteristic of the traditional architecture of Rhodes, small snow-white houses and red geraniums.

The main attraction of Monolithos is a medieval Venetian-style castle, which is located on top of a 100-meter steep cliff covered with pine trees. The castle was built in 1480 by knights of the Order of St. John (also known as Knights Hospitallers, or Maltese Knights) on the foundation of an older, probably Byzantine structure.

Like all fortifications of that period, the castle was built to protect the territory and the local population from attacks by pirates and other invaders. They say that an impregnable castle never failed. Over time, the castle fell into decay, and most of the ancient fortifications were destroyed. Today we can only see the ruins of a previously monumental structure. A small snow-white chapel of St. Panteleimon, which was built in the 15th century, has been preserved on the territory of the fortress. Here was another small chapel, but it is almost completely destroyed. Ancient tanks were also preserved, which were most likely used to collect rainwater. You can climb to the castle through a stone staircase carved directly into the rock.

During the Middle Ages, Monolithos Castle was an important strategic object. An excellent view of the sea was opened from its top, which made it possible to notice in time the approach of other ships and prepare for defense. Today, from the top of the fortress, you can simply admire the chic scenery of Rhodes and the beautiful panoramas of the Aegean Sea.

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