"Religious Tour of Rhodes" GT10

Christian Churches / Monasteries / Chapels / Christian Cultural Sites

This tour is designed for those interested in culturally and historically significant Christian sites. These sites include Christian art, particularly of the Orthodox-Byzantine style and the Catholic Gothic design and painting. The tour shows the Christian art and architecture in Rhodes Greece.

Private Tour Overview - Half Day

Private Tour Details

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(Stop Photos) = Stop and get out of the vehicle for photos from outside of the Sight/Building (Guided Tour) (stay close to vehicle)

(Stop Visit Photos) Stop and visit - go inside the Sight/building with your tour guide for photos and Guided Walking Tour

Activity Level: Easy

Tour Guide: English speaking experienced licensed tour guide specialized in Private Tours

Tour Driver: English speaking professional driver specialized in Private Tours

Vehicle: Mercedes Benz - Depend on the size of your group

Tour Start Time: 8:30 AM. If you are a Cruise Ship Passenger - depend on your cruise ship dock time

Meeting Point: Cruise Port / Hotel / Airport (Meeting point varies depending on option booked)

Private Tour Description:

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The tour will begin with the “Annunciation of the Virgin Mary” or “Evangelismos tis Theotokou”. It’s an Orthodox Church which is located very near the entrance of the old port Mandraki. Is a copy of the St. John’s the Baptist catholic church in the Medieval City which was built by the Knights of St John Hospitallers. The Church is styled as a 3 aisled gothic basilica with a wooden roof. The roof contains a beautiful blend of Byzantine and Gothic elements. Due to the needs of the Orthodox denomination, the interior was adjusted in 1947 according to their requirements. The frescos were pained by the hagiographer extraordinaire, Photis Kontoglou (1952- 1962 A.D.) However, it still remains as it was on the outside.

As we move on from this breathtaking site, we venture out of Rhodes Town and come upon the West Coast. Here, the Church of “Our Lady of Filerimos” awaits us. It is situated atop the Filerimos hill - the Acropolis of Ancient Lalisos. In the days of early Christianity, this was the temple of Athena Polias. It was turned into a Christian three-aisled basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Since then, the Church has become well known for housing the Virgin of Filerimos (Our Lady of Filerimos), which is an icon for the Island. The “Lady of Filerimos” is kept in the monastery surrounded by cloisters and cells. The monastery was constructed in the 14th century under the rule of the Knights of St. John. Today the icon can be seen at the Blue Chapel of the National Museum of Montenegro, in Filerimos Monastery you can see a copy of it

If you cross the outside fence opposite the entrance, you will be treated to the sight of the beautiful “Way of the Cross”. It’s a paved corridor with engravings on one side. The entire pathway is perched on pedestals that represent the Passion of the Christ. When you come to the end, you are witness to an 18-meter tall Cross. There is even a staircase that leads to the top for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the west and east coast of the island.

As we return, we take the road of Monte Smith. The road meanders through the Ancient Acropolis of Rhodes Town. One the way you are treated to stunning views of the City and the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. The first site we see as we arrive at the Gate of St Athanasius of the Medieval City, is the Catholic Church of St. Francis of Assisi. This is the official Latin Rite Parish church of Rhodes; it was completed in 1939. Larger than the Santa Maria, this Church eventually became the Parish church of the Franciscan Mission in Rhodes.

The Gate of St Athanasius is the point where your walking guided tour begins. The tour will take you through the Old Town to visit the Orthodox church of Agios Fanourios (St Fanourios). It is located at the namesake street in the Medieval Town of Rhodes. Built in the 13th century A.D, the interior adorned with beautiful frescos. During the Ottoman Occupation, it was officiated as a Mesgit (Small Mosque). Before the Ottoman Period, there is no known testimony for its name. The Italian Archaeological Service preserved its interior during the 1920s. Following WWII, it was taken over by the Greeks and then inaugurated and dedicated to Agios Fanourios in 1946.

The walking guided tour will take you next to the Grand Master Palace where the ruins of the Catholic church of Saint John’s of the Knights Hospitallers await. The Knights officially handed over rule to the Ottomans on December 27th 1522 A.D. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent himself prayed at this church. It was later to become the most important Muslim place of worship, the “Great Mosque of Rhodes”. The temple, like many others on the island was a three-aisled gothic basilica with a wooden roof. However, an unfortunate explosion occurred that destroyed it. The Metropolitan Church of “Virgin Mary’s Annunciation” mimics the patterns of this temple.

As we proceed through the tour, we go down the Street of the Knights, and pass the Ippocratous Square and the Martyron Evreon Square with the Seahorses Fountain. Here awaits the Panagia tou Bourgou (Virgin Mary of Burgos). This is another gothic basilica with three aisles; however, it also features two arcades created by four columns and pointed arches. Built in the 14th century, the Church also goes by the “Church of the Virgin Mary of Mercy”. Partial restoration has occurred over the years and the area is open to the public. Even music events are held here at times.

The final stop on our tour is the Orthodox Church of St Panteleimonas. Located on the Northeast end of Medieval Town, near Agia Ekaterini’s Gate, it was constructed after the first Ottoman Siege on July 27th, 1480 AD. The day is commemorated with The Day of the Churches Celebration. There is no evidence of it being turned in to a Mosque during the Ottoman Period. According to Allert Gabriel, who visited Rhodes in 1923, it had become a residence for Jewish families. However, it became a customs office run by Italians at an unknown time. The British used it as a police station, and after the Second World War, it was used as a shelter for refugees. The Metropolitan Bishop of Rhodes, on one of his visits, realized the site was a temple. After considerable restoration work in collaboration with the Archaeological Service, the Church was consecrated on April 25th 1948 A.D.

Towards the end of your tour, you can choose to go back to your hotel, to your ship, or stay in the Old Town to visit the area on your own. The ship is docked just a quarter of a mile away but returning back on foot is your own responsibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

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+ Q: Does the tour give us time to stop and take photos as well as to appreciate the Christian art and architecture?

A: Yes, there is plenty of time, and you will find that you can look around and take photos pretty comfortably. This is because as long as you remain within 25-50 feet of the tour guide, you’ll be able to hear him through your special headsets, so you should be completely fine all the way.

+ Q: How much are the entrance fees on this tour?

A: The only entrance fee is to Monastery of Filerimos, 6 euro per person. Seniors (with Id or Passport) 3 Euros / person

+ Q: Can we add other sites, or customize this tour?

A: Yes, all the tours are customizable. Just let us know the sites you wish to visit and we’ll plan a custom private tour for you.

+ Q: How near is the ship from the Church of St Panteleimonas?

A: It’s 5 minutes away, but you can take as long as you wish, enjoying the sights of the Old Town.

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