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Rhodes

Archaeological Museum




 


Summary

The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is housed in the building that was the hospital of the Knights of Saint John known as the Knights Hospitallers. Construction of the hospital began in 1440 and was completed in 1489. It was carried out over the remains of a Roman building. The Museum contains a number of collections of archaeological artifacts from various parts of Rhodes and the neighbouring islands. These include burial finds dating back to the 9th century BC, and sculptures and mosaic floors from the classical, Hellenistic and Roman period. One of the famous pieces contained in the museum is the marble statue dating from the first century BC of Aphrodite Bathing.


The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is located at the center of the Medieval Town, adjacent to Knights Street. It is housed in the building that was the hospital of the Knights of Saint John known as the Knights Hospitallers. 

The Knights of Saint John were a Christian military order formed in the 11th century in order to care for the poor and sick pilgrims in Jerusalem. In 1309, they acquired Rhodes, which they held until 1523 when, following a six months siege by Süleyman the Magnificent, the knights were forced to leave Rhodes. 

During the Ottoman era (1523-1912) it was used as a hospital then also as a barracks. It underwent restoration from 1913-18 becoming the Rhodes Archaeological Museum in 1914.

Construction of the hospital was begun in 1440 over the remains of a Roman building and was completed in 1489. Built along similar lines to Byzantine hostelries it is one of the few examples of Gothic architecture to be found in Greece and is part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage listing.

The Museum contains a number of collections of archaeological artifacts from various parts of Rhodes and the neighbouring islands. One of the famous pieces contained in the museum is the marble statue dating from the first century BC of Aphrodite Bathing. In addition, the “Intoxicated Dionysus”, the headless statue of Diana, which are also well known, are on display.

Entry to the building is into an inner courtyard, surrounded by a galleried upper story which is accessed by an outside stairway. On the ground within the courtyard are a number of stone fragments and stacks of cannonballs, together with relics from various sieges and military campaigns. Also, to be seen are a number of grave stones and funeral altars. 

The upper floors were used as the hospital for the sick and this is where the hospital beds were located. The room is large with minimal decoration and covers the length and width of the building, it has a high-ceiling supported by columns.

The ground floor was used as stables and a warehouse.  This led onto a large courtyard, which was surrounded by a double portico following typical Gothic architecture.  In the courtyard is a stone statue of a lion which has its front paws on a bull’s head.

Leading off the courtyard are several rooms containing exhibits.  These include burial finds dating back to the 9th century B.C, and sculptures and mosaic floors from the classical, Hellenistic and Roman period. Also, to be seen are and funerary slabs from the period of the Knights and numerous chalices. There is also a collection of earthenware, urns and pots, altars, sarcophaguses and other objects from archaeological excavations.

Leading from the main building are the gardens. Within these are a pavilion marking the place of a burial site dating back to 1700 BC, this held a helmeted warrior and his horse. This has been reconstructed and displays wall-mounted mosaics. 



Rhodes_Museum_Courtyard

Hospital Ward Courtyard











 

Outer Court Leading to Garden              Display of Mosaics                 
 

​​Rhodes_Burial_Site

Aphrodite Bathing        Burial Site 


 


 

Copyright - All  Photographs copyright Ron Gatepain

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