Rhodes site of ancient Ialyssos
Photo: Luc De Brouwer
One of the three ancient cities of the island of Rhodes.
Ialysos is one of the three ancient cities that can be found on the holiday island of Rhodes and this one has the ruins of civilisations that can be dated as far back as the third millennium BC.
The archaelogical site of ancient Ialyssos is located at the summit of a fortified hill at Filerimos about 15 km away from the city of Rhodes.
Among the excavated ruins is a temple to Athena Polias, which dates from 2,00 BC and replaced an even earlier temple, that has a floor of terra-cotta floor and where pottery has been found that dates from the 5th century BC.
The site has been much fought over and today's tourist visitors will find little left of the ancient buildings of Ialyssos that were completely destroyed by marauding Ottomans.
Before the last war when Rhodes was occupied by Italians, much of the site was excavated and they rebuilt the monastery to create the 'Golgotha' church with four shrines.
The Golgotha has a series of shrines with relief scenes of the Passion, which leads to the west edge of the Filerimos hill. The stone cross on top of the plateau is a 1196 replacement for one erected by the Italians which was destroyed in 1944.
Most of the ruins that survive are on the Filerimos hill, which was given this name in Byzantine times as before that it was called by the Greek name Achaia.
Battled over many times by Greeks and Turks there was once a Christian basilica that was built virtually over a Doric temple, replaced in the 6th century by a Byzantine monastery.
The Knights of St. John reclaimed the monastery during the Crusades and set up camp here before moving to the modern day present Rhodes City.
The occupation by of the Knights of the Order of St. John is evidenced by the 14th century church with a vaulted roof and two hexagonal chapels.
One of the most important monuments is a Doric 'Fountain House', actually a water supply system with a large water cistern cut into the rock enclosed by six Doric columns which make up the facade of the house which dates from the 4th century BC.
Ruins of Byzantine fortification walls, constructed with stone taken from the ruined temple of Athena, can be seen at the eastern end of the site.
The area is steeped in ancient history with the remains of a Minoan settlement found near the holiday beach resort of Trianda close by while Mycenaean cemeteries have been unearthed on the hills of Makria and Moschou Vounara.
Many of the archaeological finds are now displayed in the Archaeological Museum of the town of Rhodes.