Climbing to the Acropolis of Rhodes is like a rite of passage for most people who visit the island of Rhodes. You'll find the Acropolis perched on top of Monte Smith, no more than three kilometres from the city centre. Although the entirety of the site is yet to be excavated, you still have plenty to explore including a number of monuments, temples and spectacular views overlooking the western part of the city.
History of the AcropolisRhodes Acropolis dates back to 408 BC when the ancient cities on the island of Rhodes merged together when the Peloponnesian War ended. The city flourished and was known for its remarkable beauty and wealth. The people of Rhodes built the famous and legendary statue of the Colossus of Rhodes, which replicated Helios, the sun god from Greek mythology. However, a devastating earthquake struck in 227 BC, which destroyed much of the statue and city. It was rebuilt but when Cassius raided the city in 42 BC, it was never fully recovered. Then, another earthquake hit the area in AD 515, which left what we know as today as the Old Town. Throughout the years, countless raids and intrusions impacted the city until finally, it was liberated at the end of World War II.
Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus PolieusYou'll find this striking temple right on the northern edge of the site. You'll see Doric columned porticos on each side of the temple as well as four huge column drums too. Back in the day, this is the place where the Rhodians housed important texts depicting treaties with other states.
Temple of Pythian ApolloTowards the southern part of the hill, you'll come across the Temple of Pythian Apollo. It's much smaller than the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus, but still just as impressive. Much of the original temple still remains today and some restoration work has been carried out on the North Eastern side of the temple.
The NymphaeumsThe Nymphaeums were once used as places of worship and mimic four caves carved into a rock. When you climb the steps and go inside the structure, you'll find passages connecting each of the four caves. If you look up, you'll see a massive opening in the centre of the roof. Lush vegetation and water cisterns surround the area, adding to the overall wonder and charm of the place.
OdeonMake your way to the Northwest of the Acropolis of Rhodes and you'll reach the Odeon, which is a small marble theatre that could hold up to 800 spectators. Locals and visitors would pack out the stadium for entertainment events such as musical performances. The Odeon was also used for conducting and attending rhetoric lessons.
Stoa buildingIn its prime, the Stoa building could be seen from the harbour. Nowadays though, there's only one foundation wall preserved. However, it's easy to imagine how it once looked from the lower town and towards the harbour as it would have been one of the most impressive facades in the area.
ArtemisionThe Artemision was the main place of worship of the Artemis cult. You'll notice that it's not the only structure of its kind in the area as there are some more ruins of similar structures in the nearby vicinity. To reach the Artemision, head over to the north-eastern side of the site and you'll find it there amongst the other ruins.
StadiumOver on the south-eastern side of the Rhodes Acropolis stands the Stadium, which is one of the most popular monuments in the entire site. It's pretty well-preserved and was around 600 feet in length. The Italians are believed to have excavated the Stadium back when they ruled the island. As you explore this monument, you'll discover the Sphendone and the Proedries, which is where the officials at the time would sit.
GymnasiumTo the east of the Stadium is the Gymnasium, which is a square-shaped edifice measuring around 200m on each side. When it was first uncovered by archaeologists, they retrieved well-preserved artwork from the site.
LibraryIf you want to check out the ancient library where works of Rhetoric were once kept, head over to the area near the Gymnasium and the Odeon. There, you'll find remains of the library, which would've been a key landmark for study and keeping up with rhetoric lessons.
How to get to the Acropolis of RhodesTravelling to the Acropolis shouldn't cause you too much hassle. You can visit the ancient city at any time of the day and while kids are free, adults must pay a small fee. You have a few options to get there. The first is to embark on a half-hour hike from the Old Town, which is a great option if you want some fresh air and enjoy stunning views on your way to the top. You can also take the city bus 5 to the Acropolis, which is the best choice on a particularly hot day when you don't want to spend so much time in the sun.