Rhodes acropolis (Rhodes) Rodos

Rhodes acropolis, religious center of the ancient polis, Rhodes, Dodecanese Aegean
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Latitude: 36.440000
Longitude: 28.211000
Confidence: High

Place ID: 364282SRho
Time period: CH
Region: Dodecanese
Country: Greece
Department: Rodos
Mod: Rodos

- Pleiades
- IDAI gazetteer ID

Modern Description: On the upper eastern slope of Mount Smith are the excavations of a so-called ‘Palatial Building' and of a Hellenistic house, which lie to either side of Enoplon Dynameon Street. In the latter, below the level of a peristyle and pebble-mosaic floor can be seen a plastered, multiple-chambered cistern, suggesting an impluvium for water storage. Mosaic floor and elements of the water management system of a large residence can be seen in the ‘Palatial Building' excavations.
• The area of olive and oak trees stretching to the west of Diagoridon Street and up to the crown of the hill is an Archaeological Park (always open) comprising the Ancient Stadium, an (?) Odeion and the Temple of Pythian Apollo, most of which was first uncovered by Italian archaeologists between 1919 and 1929. According to the fashion of their time and the wishes of their political masters, what was uncovered was also considerably restored in a manner that has inevitably deadened its antique appeal. The ground level in and around the (2nd century BC) Stadium has risen leaving the first row of seats partly sunken: a gentle swelling curve in the line of two long sides can be detected. At the points where steps descend through the seating, small slots can be seen in the row of seats with back-rests, for the fixing of wooden retaining panels or doors. Beyond its north end, is a small building generally referred to as a ‘theatre', which has been mostly reconstructed (apart from the orchestra and three of the seats, which are original). Although too small for a theatre proper, this probably functioned as an Ode ion—a type of building designed for more intimate performances of music, song or poetry, as well as for teaching and occasional political meetings. The fact that the external form of the structure is square brings to mind the design of the ‘bouleuterion', or council chamber, in Ancient Priene (Turkey)—a city which was also laid out by Hippodamus. From the Odeion, steps lead up an impressive work of terracing. The Italian restorers have intervened heavily, but the well-designed stepping of some of the lower areas and the rustication of the ancient blocks clearly distinguish the antique work from the new. At the top, the ground flattens out onto the terrace of the twin-sanc tuary of Apollo Pithios, and of his sister Artemis, whose temple stood below and a little to the north. The columns of one corner of the 4th century BC Temple of Apollo have been re-built by the Italian archaeologists to indicate the height of the building: it was a hexastyle Doric temple, oriented due east. The construction of its platform presents many points of interest: the floor of the interior naos was constituted by the cut, living bedrock; and the podium or crepidoma of the temple was created by cutting away the rock all around and then facing it with steps. These steps demonstrate the fine qualities of Hellenistic masonry, which is never lacking in pleasing details: the lowest step is rough-course bed-rock, the second step has a raised lip on its outer edge, and the upper three courses are pleasingly tapered and undercut at the lower join.
The corners are beautifully finished and the whole has the necessary, bowed rise towards the centre. Under the east end, a chamber has been left between the bed-rock core and the inside of the steps. A similar situation is presented in the ruins of the Temple of Artemis below, where a cut in the rock drops down to a plastered cistern to either side.
Along the ridge of Mount Smith behind—which takes its name from the redoubtable Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith (1764–1840) who lodged in a house on the hill in 1799 and 1800 during his campaigns against the French navy in the Napoleonic Wars—are the few scattered remains of what was the acropolis of Ancient Rhodes. At the highest point (111 m a.s.l.) to the northern end, were sited the two temples of Zeus Polieus and of Athena Polias, dominating the skyline from every direction of arrival by sea. Virtually nothing remains except for a few scattered column drums which mark the sites. To the east and a little below, however, extensive cutting of the living rock and stretches of walling give an intimation of the flight of terraces which led to them. These mark the edge of an interesting area of underground ‘nymphaea'.
The several so-called *Nymphaea (or sanctuaries dedicated to the Nymphs) which sink deeply down from groundlevel at the northern end of Mount Smith just east of the summit, probably began life as cisterns for collecting water from the several seeping springs in the area. A good way of understanding them is by beginning at the hidden hermitage or grotto of Aghios Nikolaos where the pagan cult of the nymphs seems to live on in a Christian guise (this lies just below the east side of Boreiou Ipeirou Street). Like the nymphaea, it originally housed a small seeping spring.
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acropolis_of_Rhodes
Wikidata ID: Q3557443
Trismegistos Geo: 2057

Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands

(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)

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