The capital, also called Rhodes, occupies the northernmost tip of the island. There are actually three cities on this site – modern, ancient and medieval. The modern town has a cosmopolitan character, many late 20th century buildings and hotels. The ancient town, which was founded in 408 BC according to plans by Hippodamos of Milesios (the first town planner), started from Monte Smith hill where the acropolis stood and extended as far as what is now the mediaeval city. All that is left of it today is the ruins of the temples of Zeus, Athena Poliados and Apollo, the Stadium, Gymnasium and the Theatre, which has been restored.
The mediaeval city is still surrounded by the high walls erected by the Knights. It is divided by an inner wall into two unequal parts, the smaller Collachio and the larger Burgo or Hora. Collachio is further split by the Street of the Knights, both of whose sides are lined with the sombre stone facades of the Inns of the Tongues or nationalities that belonged to the order of the Knights of St. John.
Approaching Rhodes by yacht one gets a first glimpse of the massive Old Town walls together with the graceful minarets and the arcaded waterfront markets with their exotic scents. Mandraki harbour, which features a tower with a bronze deer on top on either side of its entrance welcomes you to the island.
Lindos is dramatically situated on a outcrop high over the sea, and is Rhodes’ second town, with a year-round population of 800. With its cubed houses wrapped around the fortified acropolis, it has kept its integrity only because the whole town is classified as an archaeological site, unique in Greece.