There is no doubt that Rhodes is one of the most attractive Greek islands, and a traveller might wonder if it is necessary to add the Jewish heritage perspective to the experience. Well, let's look to Aesop, the storyteller: “There was a man who had been away on a journey and had then come back home. He strutted about town, talking loudly and at great length about the brave deeds he had accomplished in the various lands he had visited. In Rhodes, the man said, he had jumped such a long jump that no man alive could equal it, and he claimed that there were witnesses who could back up his story. A bystander then remarked, 'Alright! If you're telling the truth, here is your Rhodes: go on and jump!'” (Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs )
Like in many other revered places in Greece and beyond, Jews have had their part in making Rhodes what it is today: a jewel in the sea. Follow us on our Jewish tour and discover the moving present of Jews in Rhodes.
UNESCO World Heritage
The huge and impressive Palace of the Grand Masters and Street of the Knights, which first greet visitors arriving to Rhodes, are remnants of the significant and distant past of the island, when the Crusaders used to rule over it. Around these landmarks can be found the Old Town of Rhodes, which is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site for its genuineness, as it is one of the best preserved historical districts in the world. One can find cobblestone streets with preserved medieval facades and many inns, which give a genuine medieval feeling to the place.
Juderia and the Square of the Jewish Martyrs
Continuing along the curving streets of the Old Town, you will find Juderia, the Jewish Quarter, which includes the Square of the Jewish Martyrs, a tribute to the departed members of the Jewish Community of Rhodes, as well as the Jewish Museum, located in the Synagogue. Have you ever crossed a patio covered with vines, only to find the tiny entrance of a synagogue, where you will discover a community spread over the whole world coming together for the high holidays to keep the Kehilla alive? If you happen to be there on Shabbat, don´t miss the opportunity to meet the locals!
Strolling along the Jewish Quarter on one of our Jewish heritage tours, one can acquire historical knowledge of the local Jewish community and its members simply by examining the facades of the surrounding buildings, which tell the stories of the lifestyle and wealth of the former Jewish residents.
Don´t finish your day without going even further into the past – it is believed that one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the statue of Colossus, once stood at the gates of Mandraki Port.
The Acropolis of Rhodes was also built around that time. Today, you can visit the ancient remains, which illustrate its wonder and former beauty.