During the rule of the Knights, there were only fields and small churches at the point where today the modern city of Rhodes lies. The city began to expand after the island’s occupation by the Turks, when the Christians were forbidden to live inside the walled settlement. At night the Turks would close the wall doors and the Greeks who owned shops there were forced to go outside. So, the Greeks built their small houses, close to one another, in the fields of Mandraki. These old neighborhoods are called “marasia” but today there are only a few remnants left.
The coastal part of Mandraki, with the imposing administrative buildings of the Italians was constructed under the orders of governor Mario Lago and head architect Florestano di Fausto. The New Market is a massive polygonal building of Arab style. Circumferentially on the outside as well as on the patio located inside it, there are a lot of stores, travel agencies, cafes, coffee houses and restaurants.
Outside the New Market are the starting points of city and intercity buses as well as the taxi rank.
Eleftherias (Liberty) Square
It extends along the harbor, next to the sea, and it is surrounded by monumental buildings: the Bank of Greece, the Aktaeon refreshment bar, the Courthouse, the Port Authority Office and the Post Office. Vassileos Georgiou Square (King George Square) can be found north of Eleftherias Square, also surrounded by Italian buildings. The most impressive one is the Government House, resembling the doges’ palace in Venice. It was built between 1924 and 1936 and it was the seat of the Italian governor of the Dodecanese. Next to it the Archbishop’s Palace stands out and right beside that, the church of Evangelismos (Annunciation), which is the cathedral church of Rhodes and is decorated with religious paintings by Fotis Kontoglou. It is an exact replica of the church of Saint John of the Knights that was located next to the Palace of the Grand Master and was completely destroyed by an explosion in 1856. The “fontana” in the churchyard is a replica of the drinking fountain in Viterbo, a city in northern Italy. On the other side of the street stand the City Hall and the National Theater.
Behind the coastal road stretches the shopping center full of stores, banks, hotels, cafes, restaurants, etc.
The city of Rhodes has three ports: Mandraki, the Grand Harbor (or Emporiko – Trading), where ferry boats moor, and the port of Akantia. The port of Mandraki is shallow and suitable only for yachts and small boats that make trips to the beaches of Rhodes and the neighboring islands. At its entrance, on two high columns made of tufa the symbols of the island can be seen: a bronze stag and a bronze doe. According to a rather inaccurate tradition, in the place of the deer once stood the Colossus. The ships sailed under his feet and the passageway was closed at night with a chain. At the end of the pier of the Mandraki port the small fort of Hagios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) is located, built by duke Philip of Burgundy in 1464-67. At the same pier, which is ideal for evening walks, there are also three windmills. They are located there from the 15th century and they were used for grinding the grain carried by merchant ships.