Rhodes - The Island of the Knights

Arts & Culture

Medieval Festival: A Journey Through the Middle Ages

Myths and Legends of Rhodes

According to local legend, Rhodes, the biggest island of the Dodecanese was created as a present to be given to the God Helios (God of Sun). From the time of the Romans and continuing through the Byzantine period, Rhodes changed leadership from one master to another, until 1309, when the island fell under the control of the Order of St. John’s Knights. These knights fortified the city and built impressive public buildings such as the Grandmaster’s Palace and the Hospital. From this time onwards, they would become known as “The Knights of Rhodes”.

Rhodes - The Island of the Knights

Then, in 1332, the whole island was plagued by what is believed to have been a dragon, living in a morass at the foot of Mount St. Stephen (an area then called ‘Mal Paso’), about two miles from the city. The pilgrimage to the Chapel of St. Stephen, which was located on the hill above its lair, became a dangerous path for pilgrims, as well as for children and shepherds.

As legend goes, several knights had left the city in an attempt to destroy the creature, but not one had returned. However, a young knight, named Dieudonné de Gozon, was by no means willing to give up. He killed the dragon and became a hero and icon for the people.

Dieudonné de Gozon was eventually elected to the Grand Mastership; he was an excellent Grand Master, a great soldier, and much beloved by all the poor peasants of the island.

Rhodes - The Island of the Knights

Rhodes Medieval Festival

You'll feel like you've been transported back in time when the Rhodes Medieval Festival is being held in the city. Wander through the mysterious streets of the Medieval Town and cast your mind back to the days when alchemists were seeking mandrake and other potion ingredients, fairies were dancing around the fountains, enchanting passers-by, and hidden in the swamp, a terrible dragon was terrorising all who crossed its path...Don't forget the Order of the Knights who were majestically crossing through crowded public squares, watched by scholars, magicians, artisans, merchants and craftsmen from all over the world!

Since 2009, the festival extends to more castles (like Monolithos) and Lindos, where the lights turn off and torches give light to the narrow streets of the picturesque village, and then the journey back in time ... begins!

Photos by Antreas Ganatsios

'Chase of the Dragon' Game

Chase of the Dragon is a fascinating team game that involves the myth of the fierce dragon of Rhodes that lived on St. Stefanos cliff in the dawn of the 14th century.

The game steers players to the most wonderful places of the Medieval Town and Moat, where they will discover mysterious passages, solve puzzles and riddles, decode the language of the dragons and will live the adventure of the mighty Knight!

In the final stage, the members of the winning team will compete with each other so that the wisest and the bravest of the three will be recognised as a knight and will receive the cape and the sword of the Knight De Gozon!

Meet the persons behind the festival.

Photos by the Medieval Rose Festival , Antreas Ganatsios, and Panagiotis Lamprianides.

Photos by Panagiotis Lamprianides