The architectural aspect of the city of Rhodes is greatly influenced by the Italian architecture of the late thirties (mostly fascist) and by the presence of the fortificated Medieval Town. Rhodians are proud to note their city was, historically, the first ever built on an urban plan. In fact, 2.400 years ago, the famous architect of the ancient times, Ippodamus, designed and applied the first ever urban plan based on a perpendicular system.
Probably the most frequented part of the city is the ancient harbor – today called Mandraki – with the statue of the deer and the fawn at its entrance. Tradition tells us that this was where the famous Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, stood. A long mole which protects the harbor has in its middle three old windmills and at its northern end the Fortress of St. Nicholas with the lighthouse. It is from here, the Mandraki harbor where the small vessels depart for daily cruises to Lindos, Symi, Kalymnos, Pserimos, Patmos and Nissiros.
Very close to the entrance to the ancient harbor is the church of the Annunciation, the orthodox cathedral, in the gothic style, with wall-paintings by Fotis Kontoglou. In the whole of this area in front of Mandraki, as elsewhere, the Italians put up various buildings with large spaces between them. Among them is the Governor’s Residence, a building with gothic arches all round, which stands a little to the north of the Church of the Annunciation. Today it houses the headquarters of the Prefecture. The other buildings include the Town Hall, the National Theater and the law courts, south of the church of the Annunciation.
Next to the Governor’s Residence is the Mosque of Murat Reis with the old the ottoman notables’ cemetery. If you follow from here the main road which goes to the west coast, you pass the luxurious Hotel of the Roses which is also a casino. On the northern tip of the city is the famous Aquarium (Hydro Biological Station of Rhodes). The sandy beach to the west of the Yacht Club is one of the most popular on Rhodes.
If you follow the Mandraki pier in the direction of the old town, you come to Nea Agora (New Market), a large, polygonal building with a series of arches on its facade and a large open space in the middle. Near hear in a beautiful garden and below the imposing walls and Palace of the Grand Master, are the installations for sound and vision performances.