Acropolis of Rhodes, Rhodes

Acropolis of Rhodes (Self Guided), Rhodes

The Acropolis of Rhodes on Monte Smith is an ancient archaeological site. The excavations and restoration works here began under the Italian administration of the island (from 1912 to 1945) and continue to this day. This historic location is home to several significant structures dating back to the Hellenistic period (3rd to 2nd century BC) offering a glimpse into the history and culture of the ancient Greek world.

One of the notable features of the Acropolis is the Stadium. Once an essential part of the city's social and athletic life, it was here that various sporting events and competitions took place, much like modern-day sports arenas.

Adjacent to the Stadium is the Odeion, a theater-like structure that was used for musical and theatrical performances. It served as a hub for cultural gatherings and entertainment, showcasing the artistic talents of the ancient Rhodians.

The Temple of Pythian Apollo stands as a majestic monument within the Acropolis. Dedicated to the god Apollo, it was a place of worship and reverence. Pilgrims and locals alike would come here to pay their respects and seek divine guidance.

The Nymphaea Cave Sanctuary, a tranquil and mystical spot, was a place of religious significance, too. It was dedicated to the nymphs, who were considered minor deities of nature and water. The cave offered a serene escape and a connection to the natural world.

Another prominent structure on the Acropolis is the Stoa Building. This elegant colonnade served as a place for gatherings, discussions, and commerce.

Lastly, the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus, once a grand and imposing temple, was dedicated to two of the most important deities in the Greek pantheon. It served as a center of religious devotion and cultural significance.

Visiting the Acropolis of Rhodes offers a profound connection to the past, allowing visitors to experience the legacy of ancient Greece. So, if you ever have the chance, don't miss the opportunity to take this remarkable journey and explore the wonders of antiquity.
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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: 6
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Stadium
  • Odeion
  • Temple of Pythian Apollo
  • Nymphaia Cave Sanctuary
  • Stoa Building
  • Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus

1) Stadium (must see)

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 Stadium was of sacred importance to the ancient Rhodians. It was believed that when Zeus divided up the lands among the gods, Helios, the god of Sun, 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, 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. The view of Rhodes Town from the Stadium is impressive.

2) Odeion

The Italian School of Archaeology at Athens excavated ancient ruins during the early 20th century. This excavation unearthed the Acropolis of Rhodes and found several treasures, including the Odeon.

The Acropolis site dates back to the Classical Greek and Hellenistic periods, from the third to second centuries BC. In 408 BC, three of the island's cities joined forces to build one main city, Rhodes. The Acropolis was built on the city's highest point, and the monuments were built on terraces.

The Acropolis looks over the medieval town and the modern new town.

The small white marble Odeon could hold about 800 spectators. Historians believe the Odeon was used for musical performances and lectures. Ancient Greeks might have attended singing events, musical shows, or poetry recitals here.

The restored theater contains 800 marble seats. The Odeon has been beautifully and painstakingly restored and is a wonderful tribute to ancient Greek architecture.
Temple of Pythian Apollo

3) Temple of Pythian Apollo

The Temple of Pythian Apollo is part of the fabulous Acropolis excavation work completed in Rhodes. The Greek Archaeological Service continued the work started by the Italian School of Archaeology at Athens. The Greek Arcaelogoical service started working on restoring the Temple of Pythian Apollo in 1946. Unfortunately, the temple suffered heavy damage from WWII bombs. In addition, it was damaged by the weight of artillery that was installed there.

The Temple of Pythian Apollo, along with the other Acropolis sites, dates to the Classical Greek period and the Hellenistic Period, from the third to second centuries BC. The Temple of Pythian Apollo is on the southern part of the hill and is smaller than other temples on the site. Pythia was Apollo's Priestess, who gave oracles, divined the future, and was consulted before all major decisions.

Today, only a few columns and ruins remain. However, the location at the summit of the Acropolis provides wonderful views of old Rhodes and the sea below.
Nymphaia Cave Sanctuary

4) Nymphaia Cave Sanctuary

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 in 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. The Nymphaia a peaceful place to reflect on how life must have been millennia ago on the island of Rhodes.
Stoa Building

5) 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 BC.

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 place for public events or shade from the burning sun.
Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus

6) 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.

The building 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. 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.
Gates and Walls Tour

Gates and Walls Tour

Owing to its geographical location, as a gateway to the Aegean Sea, Rhodes has always had a vantage position on trade routes between the West and the East – well protected against both foreign invaders and corsairs sailing the Mediterranean waters. The early defense system of Rhodes dates back as far as the 4th century BC.

Starting the Middle Ages – the year 1309, when the Knights...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Medieval Town Walking Tour

Medieval Town Walking Tour

The medieval town of Rhodes, where every street, square, or building evokes a story about ancient times, is a living museum in its own right. Being one of the best-preserved medieval walled towns in Europe, this enchanting area boasts several remarkable locations and is quite deservedly declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Welcoming you at its entrance is the Liberty (or Eleftherias) Gate....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Mandraki Harbor Tour

Mandraki Harbor Tour

Mandraki, one of the three harbors of Rhodes, is by far the most famous of them. For centuries, this “front door” of the island has welcomed visitors to Rhodes from far and away. In large part (and quite literally so), the reason for its popularity was the enormous statue of Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, that used to crown the harbor's entrance, adding a sense...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Rhodes Introduction Walking Tour

Rhodes Introduction Walking Tour

The city of Rhodes, capital of the eponymous island, has been famous since antiquity as the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Colossus of Rhodes. The enormous statue once stood over the harbor entrance and was destroyed by a powerful earthquake in 226 BC.

The name Rhodes comes from the ancient Greek word “rhódon” (rose), hence the island is sometimes referred to as the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles