Mandraki Harbor Tour, Rhodes

Mandraki Harbor Tour (Self Guided), Rhodes

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 of wonder.

Long destroyed by the earthquakes that shattered the island back in antiquity, the only reminders of the statue now are the two sculptures of deer marking the spots where the giant's feet once stood.

When you arrive at the harbor, you can't miss the Evangelismos Church, an imposing Gothic temple erected in the 1920s by the Italians.

Nearby, you'll find the Main Post Office, a functional place that adds a touch of everyday life to this historic spot.

One of the highlights of Mandraki Harbor is the New Market Hall, a bustling place filled with colors and flavors. Here, locals and tourists shop for fresh produce, souvenirs, and other goodies.

As you stroll along the harbor, you'll notice the iconic Windmills. Standing tall and proud, they are like ancient sentinels guarding the area.

Further along, you'll spot the Saint Nicholas Fortress, an old defensive structure that once protected the harbor from invaders – a genuine piece of history right before your eyes!

Although the Colossus of Rhodes no longer exists, it remains an essential part of Mandraki Harbor. Here, history, culture, and everyday life come together beautifully. Many a boat to and from the neighboring islands pass through it every day. Our self-guided tour is designed to help you make the most of your trip to this picturesque waterfront area and explore the wonders of this enchanting place on the island of Rhodes.
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Mandraki Harbor Tour Map

Guide Name: Mandraki Harbor Tour
Guide Location: Greece » Rhodes (See other walking tours in Rhodes)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Evangelismos Church
  • Main Post Office
  • New Market (Nea Agora)
  • Mandraki Harbor and Windmills
  • Fort of St. Nicholas
  • Rhodian Deer Statues
  • Colossus of Rhodes
1
Evangelismos Church

1) Evangelismos Church

Beside Mandraki Harbour stands this impressive Gothic-style Orthodox church, also known as the Church of the Annunciation. Built under Italian rule, it was completed in 1925 and originally served as a Catholic church for the Italian community until 1948, when Rhodes rejoined Greece. Renamed as a Greek Orthodox Church, it underwent a transformation, both architecturally and artistically. Greek painter Fotis Kontoglou adorned its interior with colourful Neo-Byzantine style frescoes, adding a unique touch to its initial features.

Dedicated to Saint John, the church showcases Gothic-style doors and windows, arches, and high ceilings, with decorative elements carved from local sandstone that was also used in the Medieval Town. Definitely worth exploring!
2
Main Post Office

2) Main Post Office

The Post Office building in Rhodes is a standout on Liberty Square (Platia Eleftherias) in the heart of the modern city. A prime example of Renaissance Eclecticism, it started its journey in the early 20th century under Italian rule. The Italian government was behind its creation, bringing in the famous architect Florestano di Fausto, who was key in shaping Rhodes' architectural scene at the time.

Di Fausto blended Italian Rationalist styles with the local Byzantine and Islamic influences to craft the so-called Palazzo delle Poste. The result? A building that was both modern and steeped in the island's diverse cultural heritage. Completed in 1927, it was not only a post office, but also a symbol of Italy's intent to make a lasting mark on Rhodes with its architecture.

Easy to spot with its elaborate stonework and big arches, the building played a key role in the city's layout, reflecting Italy's goal to modernize Rhodes while holding onto its historical allure. And it's still serving its original purpose, housing the Greek Post-Office (ELTA).
3
New Market (Nea Agora)

3) New Market (Nea Agora)

Right by the harbor at Mandraki and adjacent to the Old Town, the New Market really stands out. This large, seven-sided building features a magnificent entrance, round domes, and an outdoor central courtyard where the old fish market once was. Built back in the 1920s by the Italians in an Arabic style, it really shows off the island's architectural mix.

While no longer functioning as a traditional market with stalls and local produce, the building remains a hub of activity. Surrounding the exterior are several small jewelry and souvenir shops catering to tourists, plus some cafes and food takeaway places. Inside the courtyard, there are even more shops and places to eat. The highlight is definitely the fancy domed building right in the middle of it all.

Whether you're looking to explore the architecture or simply kick back with a drink or grab a quick lunch, the New Market offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.
4
Mandraki Harbor and Windmills

4) Mandraki Harbor and Windmills (must see)

Mandráki Harbour, historically the main port of the ancient city, today provides anchorage for numerous private sailboats along its lengthy eastern quay. During the summer months, the southwest quays come alive with colorful excursion boats that ferry passengers down the coast to Líndos or to nearby islands.

The harbor features a 400-meter-long breakwater jetty, at the end of which stands the Fort of Saint Nicholas ("Ágios Nikólaos"). Originally constructed by the Knights, the fort was last used militarily during World War II and now houses a lighthouse that aids modern vessels entering the port from the north. Despite popular myths perpetuated by local souvenirs like tea-towels, T-shirts, and posters, the ancient Colossus never actually stood here. Instead, the entrance to the harbor is marked by two columns, each topped with a bronze statue of a doe and stag, symbols of Rhodes.

Visitors to Mandráki Harbor can also admire three iconic medieval windmills on the jetty, once used to grind grain from moored vessels. Originally, there may have been as many as 13 or 14 windmills. The remaining three have been extensively renovated and provide a picturesque setting for photographs, particularly stunning at sunrise when their silhouettes are cast against the dawn sky.
5
Fort of St. Nicholas

5) Fort of St. Nicholas (must see)

The Fort of Saint Nicholas stands as a commanding presence over Mandráki Harbor, a site with a rich military history. Originally, in the 15th century, only a guard tower constructed by the Knights of Saint John occupied this location. Following the first siege of Rhodes, the tower was significantly fortified, eventually transforming into a robust stronghold that was later named after the chapel situated within its walls. This fortification played a crucial role in enabling the Knights Hospitaller to resist Turkish attacks for many years, including during major sieges in 1480 and again from 1522-23. While the initial Ottoman assault was repelled, the subsequent one in 1522 eventually led to the Knights being ousted from the city.

The fort's design was strategically planned to counter the Ottoman's use of cannons and other siege weapons, featuring thick walls that remained impervious for many years and still stand in excellent condition today. Currently, the Fort of Saint Nicholas is a major attraction, drawing visitors who are keen to explore its well-preserved structure. Visitors can enjoy a walk along the path where the moat once flowed—now a dry, scenic walkway lined with trees, providing a tranquil and picturesque experience of this historic site.
6
Rhodian Deer Statues

6) Rhodian Deer Statues

Standing on slender columns at the entrance of Mandraki Harbor are sculptures depicting Rhodian deer—a stag and a doe—symbols of the elegant and cosmopolitan island of Rhodes. Legend has it that Crusaders brought deer to the island in medieval times to protect their camps from snakes. (While the deer don't directly kill snakes, their horns produce a substance that repels them.) However, findings suggest that deer have inhabited Rhodes since ancient times; in fact, in the 6th century BC, the island was named "Elafousa", meaning "deer island", due to the abundance of this species.

Interestingly, this location is also believed to be the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—the famed Colossus of Rhodes. Today, these two deer statues have become iconic symbols of the island and are among the most photographed sights.

Tip:
For the best photo opportunities, visit early in the morning when there are fewer tourists around.
7
Colossus of Rhodes

7) Colossus of Rhodes

Despite widespread myths, the Colossus of Rhodes did not actually span the entrance to Mandráki Harbour—as many depictions suggest. The reality is that its immense weight, consisting of twenty tonnes of bronze, would have caused it to sink into the soft seabed immediately. More credible theories suggest that this monumental statue of the sun god Helios, erected to memorialize Rhodes' successful defeat of Demetrius Poliorcetes, who attacked Rhodes for a year, was located near the Palace of the Grand Master.

The sculptor Khares of Lindos spent twelve years crafting the 35-meter (114-foot) tall Colossus, with each finger reportedly as large as a man. Tragically, Khares took his own life after discovering a critical design flaw in the statue, and his work was subsequently completed by his disciple, Lakhes. Less than 70 years after its completion, the Colossus suffered a catastrophic failure during an earthquake, snapping at the knees and collapsing, which some say confirmed Khares' fears about its structural integrity.

Following the disaster, the people of Rhodes sought guidance from the Delphic Oracle, which ominously advised them against restoring the statue. Heeding this warning, the ruins of the Colossus remained where they fell for nearly 900 years. It wasn't until AD 653 that Arab pirates pillaged Rhodes, ultimately selling the statue's bronze as scrap to a Jewish merchant from Syria. According to legend, it took 900 camels to transport all the bronze, marking a dramatic end to one of the ancient world's most famous statues.

Walking Tours in Rhodes, Greece

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