Castellania - Municipal Library

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Dating from the mid-14th century, this construction is located in the easternmost flank of the main square of the Medieval City of Rhodes. This is a particular case of local architectural style, typified by the balustrade-free, external staircase leading up to the “magna et communis platea” (great and common hall) as well by the ground floor, semi-open air arcade. The Knightly Hall on the floor, featuring Renaissance windows, a wooden ceiling and a particular decoration, having remained practically unchanged over time, is currently used for the hosting of various events, like exhibitions and film projections.
Judging from certain, rather circumstantial references in texts as well as from the proximity of the premises to the docks, through the Arnaldo Gate, it is speculated that the construction used to house the Courts and a gaol. On the western flank of the Hall on the floor, there are featured the blazons of the Houses of Grand Masters d’Amboise and the Knight Jacques d’ Aymer de la Chevalerie, whereas. Moreover, on the casing of the doorway to the terrace there appear the coats of arms of the Order, those of the House of Grand Master d’Amboise, the blazon of the House of the Knight Villiers de l’Isle-Adam who was later to become the last Grand Master to rule in Rhodes and that of one unknown knight.
There is a long series of uses to which these premises were destined, over the centuries, amongst which that of a Mosque – namely “Bedesten Mosque” or “Mosque of the Marketplace” – during the Ottoman rule (1522-1912) and that of a University – namely the University of Dante Alighieri – during the Italian rule. At present, the building houses the Rhodes Municipal Library, the reading hall of which has been arranged in part of the arcade – the other half having been turned into a green – as well as the Rhodes Department of the General State Archives.

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Castellania - Municipal Library
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