Acropolis of Rhodes (Self Guided), Rhodes

The Acropolis is located on Monte Smith in the city of Rhodes. Structures at this site date back to the Hellenistic period (3rd to 2nd century BC). The partially renovated structures at the Acropolis include the Temple of Pythian Apollo, the Stadium, the Odeion and the Nymphaia. The excavations and restoration work began during the Italian governance of the island (1912-1945) and continue today. Discover the charm and beauty of the ancient Greeks at the Acropolis of Rhodes.
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Acropolis of Rhodes Map

Guide Name: Acropolis of Rhodes
Guide Location: Greece » Rhodes (See other walking tours in Rhodes)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Gymnasium
  • Odeion
  • Stadium
  • Library
  • Temple of Pythian Apollo
  • Nymphaia
  • Stoa Building
  • Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus

1) Gymnasium

The Gymnasium is located east of the Stadium at the Acropolis. It is a large, ancient building, and valuable pieces of art have been found here. The entire building is not exposed, but excavators have discovered a part of the western side of the Gymnasium. A team of archeologists have also excavated the northeastern part of the ancient edifice.

2) Odeion (must see)

The Odeion is located northwest of the Stadium in the Acropolis. This petite, marble Odeion was able to house 800 people. Archeologists believe that it was used for various musical performances or for rhetoric classes. Be sure to visit this charming Greek Odeion.

3) Stadium

The Rhodes Stadium is located to the west of Rhodes Town on Monte Smith Hill and was constructed in the 2nd century B.C. Under the Hellenistic influence on Rhodes, the locals took on the Greek gods and there are the remains of the temples of Zeus, Athena, Apollo and Helios above the ancient Stadium of Rhodes. Originally the Stadium was built to be used in events relating to the Cult of Apollo and, it is thought, for the Rhodian School of Rhetoric. Today, the Stadium has been restored and is sometimes used for musical or theatrical performances. It seats 800 spectators and measures 200 meters by 35 meters.

The site around and including the Stadium was of sacred importance to the ancient Rhodians. It was believed that when Zeus divided up the lands among the gods, Helios was absent. When he returned Zeus decided to offer him the first land that sprung up from the sea. Just as he made this promise to Helios, the sun god, a lush green island emerged from the waters and was bathed in light. Helios, therefore made the patron god of Rhodes. As you stroll around the Stadium and Acropolis you can imagine ancient Rhodians performing their dramas and from the top of the Stadium there are impressive views down to Rhodes Town.

4) Library

The Library was located near the Gymnasium and the Odeion, according to some writing found at the site. The Rhodians kept their precious works of rhetoric here. The library was well stocked with many significant works. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this ancient library.
Temple of Pythian Apollo

5) Temple of Pythian Apollo (must see)

The Temple of Pythian Apollo is located on the southern side of the Smith Mount at the Acropolis. It was a poros peripteral edifice, but not as big as other temples found near the site. The view of the temple that remains will transport you back to ancient times.

6) Nymphaia

The Nymphaia is located to the south west of the Stoa and at the northern edge of the Acropolis. It consists of four caverns chiseled into the earth with passages interconnecting the subterranean spaces. Within the caves there are grottoes where statuettes were placed along with water cisterns that connected to the underground aquaducts. Green spaces at the entry area of the Nymphaia were used as a place for quiet reflection and worship during Hellenistic times on ancient Rhodes.

In the ancient Greek religion, there was a strong belief in nymphs, which were supernatural female water sprites. Nymphaia, such as that found here on Rhodes, were constructed in natural grottoes and usually had water associated with them - as was the case at this site. They were generally dedicated to a particular water nymph, although it is not known exactly which nymph the Rhodes Nymphaia was built for. The Nymphaia, along with the rest of the Acropolis, is an open air site and is open at all times. Wandering the Nymphaia and exploring its caves is a great way to escape the heat of the other sites around the Acropolis as well as a peaceful place to reflect on how life must have been millennia ago on the island of Rhodes.
Stoa Building

7) Stoa Building

The Acropolis of Rhodes, located three kilometers from Rhodes Town, was an impressive complex in its day, if its remains are anything to go by. One of the areas within the Acropolis, that is preserved for modern visitors, is the Stoa Building, built towards the end of the third century B.C. Back in classical times, the Stoa Building would have been truly impressive and it was so big that it could clearly be seen in Rhodes’ lower town and harbor. A stoa was a common building design in Ancient Greece and consisted of two long rows of columns with a roof resting on top and supporting walls at either end.

The Stoa Building at Rhodes has not survived intact, but many columns and the floor plan can still be seen to this day. It is 87 meters long with 42 columns in total and the middle of the supporting wall was cut for a grand staircase to meet it. Following the original construction, the ancient Rhodians extended the building out and included two large, underground cisterns to collect rainwater from the Stoa roof and propylaea staircase. It is thought that the large building was used for market stalls and to provide a space for public events or shade from the burning sun.
Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus

8) Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus

The Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus is located at the northern edge of the Rhodes Acropolis. As well as being an important location for worship it was also where important treaties and documents were stored during Rhodes Hellenistic age. It was a Doric peripteral columned temple, with a columned portico on all sides. It was originally a monumental building and the remains that you see today still give an indication how splendid it must have been in classical times. Column drums and an architrave can still be seen – the larger column drums are 1.20m in diameter and the smaller column drums measure 1 meter across. The temple was bounded by the Stoa building to the east.

Inscriptions, found at the site, show that the temple was used for both the worship of the goddess Athena as well as Zeus. Although excavation work continues, some statues of Athena have been found at the site. It is thought by scholars and archaeologists that the temple predates the Stoa Building and was constructed in the 4th century B.C. Sometime, during the 5th and 6th century A.D, a Christian church was built on top of the original Athenian temple and, during medieval times, there was a monastery added.

Walking Tours in Rhodes, Greece

Create Your Own Walk in Rhodes

Create Your Own Walk in Rhodes

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rhodes is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Mandraki Harbor Tour

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Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles