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Rhodes Dodecanese Guide Page 6

The Archaeological Museum

rhodes greek island ofrhodes greek island ofThe Knights' Hospital has been used to house the Archaeological Museum (Tues-Sun 8:30am-3pm; 2.40 euros). The main exhibits are of decorated pottery from the sixth and seventh centuries BC, but they are poorly labelled and not well presented. The Hellenistic statue gallery is nicer, with the 'Marine Venus' which Lawrence Durrell described in his book with its name as title, the actual statue a bit strange with its disintegrated face. This is behind the sculpture garden on the second floor. The sculpture of Aphrodite Bathing is more cheerful, by comparison.

The Decorative Arts Collection (Tues-Sun 8:30am-3pm;1.50euros) is very interesting, with its collection of furniture from Dodecanese houses, including carved doors and chest lids painted with depictions of mythological or historic themes, embroideries, and costumes. There is also a reconstruction of a traditional room.

In Plateia Symis (next square to the north) are the ruins of a 3rd century BC Temple of Aphrodite, which was discovered by the Italians in 1922. A Temple of Dionysos survives in fragments behind the Ionian and Popular Bank.

The Byzantine Museum (Tues-Sun 8:30am-3pm;1.50 euros) is housed in the old cathedral of the Knights, earlier a Byzantine shrine of Panayia Kastrou, houses medieval icons and frescoes taken from ruined chapels on Rhodes and Halki and photos of art from them. There is also a complete fresco cycle from the domes of Tharri monastery dating from 1624.

The Ottomans conquered Rhodes in 1522, and converted many Byzantine shrines to mosques (first evicting the Christians from the Old Town). There is a sizeable Turking-speaking minority in Rhodes, some of them descended from Muslims who fled Crete between 1898 and 1913 (during that last period of the Greek War of Independence). The Suleymaniye mosque built around 1522 on the site of a Church of the Apostles, and rebuilt during the 19th century , has the usual courtyard and fountain. It also has a double portico, a Venetian Renaissance style portal, and a beautiful minaret with a double balcony. Up till recently this mosque was off bounds and surrounded by scaffolding. There are many mosques in the Old Town, as well as 'mescids' (Islamic chapels).  Behind the Suleymaniye mosque is the Byzantine clock tower, the Roloi ,from which you can get wonderful views of the city.

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