Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
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|Medieval old town of Rhodes|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|Criteria||i1, iv, v|
|UNESCO region||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||1988 (12th Session)|
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes 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 built in the early 14th century by the Knights of Rhodes, who controlled Rhodes and some other Greek islands from 1309 to 1522, to house the Grand Master of the Order. After the island was captured by the Ottoman Empire, the palace was used as a command center and fortress.
Some parts of the palace were damaged by an ammunition explosion in 1856. After the Italian occupation of Rhodes in 1912, the Italian architect Vittorio Mesturino restored it between 1937 and 1940 and made it 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.
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.
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