THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE MEDIEVAL CITY OF RHODESTO A SITE OF CULTURE AND CITIZENS' EDUCATION *
GEORGE DELLAS - KATERINA MANOUSOU-DELLA
Architects of YPPO
Rhodes can be considered as a formal example of a diachronic Mediterranean cityadapted in the European model, which characterized the creation of the medieval urbancentres. The harbor of Rhodes was an important turning-point of Eastern Mediterranean,favorable for the grounding of boats with tradesmen and pilgrims for the Saint Places.Rhodes' conquest by the Ioannites Knights of Jerusalem in the beginning of the 14th centurysignaled a new season. The created urban landscape is characterized by the sovereignelements of the fortified Western European medieval cities but maintained up to today thememories of the big Hellenistic "ippodameia" and of the Byzantine city which it succeeded.Medieval Rhodes is characterized as a centre of economic and cultural influences of our era inthe crossroad between East and West.In 1985, the restoration works of the residences and the urban interventions beganwith the Office of Programmatic Convention of the Ministry of Culture, TAP and theMunicipality of Rhodes, while from 1995 we cover a fertile period of a big scale of restorationworks of the Ministry of Culture and the 4th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, in themonumental nutshell of all historical periods of the city. The objective of the "SupervisionCommittee of the Monuments of the Medieval City of Rhodes" of TDPEAE, that functionfrom 1998 as the institution of realization of a dynamic restoration program of the EuropeanUnion, is to be given the new dimension of the monumental space with accent in thediachronicity of the urban web, according to the modern perceptions for the integration of monuments in the life of citizens.
Important work of this last period is:a.
The historical valorization of four religious complexes.- Particularly the restoration and valorization of the imposing ruins of the big gothicchurch of Virgin Mary of Bourgou, after the suppression of the road axis, that crossed it fromnorth to south and its function, as a station of historical retrospection and communal spaceof special cultural activities, as concerts of Byzantine and medieval music, gave an improvedquality of the contact of residents and visitors in the modern life of the city.- In the complex of Saint Apostles and of the Old Mess, a space of periodicalexhibitions of the Municipal Art gallery was organized, as well as a Municipal refreshmentstand and in the visiting church and the underground crypt a presentation of the history andthe restoration of the historical complex, activities that are useful in the city and areembraced with enthusiasm by the residents.
* Due to publisher's error, only the first four photographs were printed in the book