Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes

This article is about the castle in Rhodes. For other uses, see Grand Master's Palace (disambiguation).
Palace of the Grand Master
Παλάτι του Μεγάλου Μαγίστρου
Part of the fortifications of Rhodes
Rhodes, Greece

View of the castle
Coordinates 36°26′44.5″N 28°13′26.8″E / 36.445694°N 28.224111°E / 36.445694; 28.224111
Type Castle
Site information
Owner Greek Government[1]
Open to
the public
Condition Intact
Site history
Built 7th century (citadel)
14th century (palace)
1937–1940 (restoration works)
Built by Byzantine Empire
Knights Hospitaller
Kingdom of Italy (restoration works)
Battles/wars Siege of Rhodes (1480)
Siege of Rhodes (1522)

1481 Rhodes earthquake

Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv, v
Designated 1988 (12th session)
Part of Medieval old town of Rhodes
Reference no. 493
State Party  Greece
Region Europe and North America

The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes (Greek: Παλάτι του Μεγάλου Μαγίστρου), also known as the Kastello (Greek: Καστέλο), is a medieval castle in the city of Rhodes, on the island of Rhodes in Greece. It is one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece. The site was previously a citadel of the Knights Hospitaller that functioned as a palace, headquarters and fortress.


The palace was originally built in the late 7th century as a Byzantine citadel. After the Knights Hospitaller occupied Rhodes and some other Greek islands (such as Kalymnos and Kastellorizo) in 1309, they converted the fortress into their administrative centre and the palace of their Grand Master. In the first quarter of the 14th century, they repaired the palace and made a number of major modifications.[2] The palace was damaged in the earthquake of 1481, and it was repaired soon afterwards.

After the island was captured by the Ottoman Empire, the palace was used as a command centre and fortress. The lower part of the palace was severely damaged by an ammunition explosion in 1856.[3] As a result, many rooms in the first floor were destroyed.[2]

During the Italian rule of Rhodes, the Italian architect Vittorio Mesturino restored the damaged parts of the palace between 1937 and 1940.[4] It became a holiday residence for the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, and later for Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, whose name can still be seen on a large plaque near the entrance.

On 10 February 1947, the Treaty of Peace with Italy, one of the Paris Peace Treaties, determined that the recently established Italian Republic would transfer the Dodecanese Islands to Greece. In 1948, Rhodes and the rest of the Dodecanese were transferred as previously agreed. The palace was then converted to a museum, and is today visited by the millions of tourists that visit Rhodes.[5]

In 1988, when Greece held the rotating presidency of the European Economic Community (as the European Union was known back then), Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and the other leaders of the EEC had a famous party in the Palace.[5]

See also


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  1. "Grand Master Palace". Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Palace of the Grand Master of Rhodes". Helios. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  3. "Rhodes Town Tourist Attractions". Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  4. "Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes". Fodor's Travel. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Museums". Municipality of Rhodes. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
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