The Knights of the Order of St. John were founded in the 11th century by the merchants of Amalfi.

They were crusaders the knights of Saint-jean who watched over the Holy Sepulchre and receive the pilgrims. They were driven out of Jerusalem and then fled to Cyprus in 1291.
They attacked the island of RODOS in 1306 and then bought the island from Admiral Vignolo di Vignoli (he was a Genois pirate) who reigned over the Dodecanese. They then had to conquer the inhabitants of the island.

A great master was elected for life by language and each language protected part of the city (France, Germany, England, Italy, Provence, Spain and Auvergne) the knights built some thirty fortresses in the DODEKANISOS

These fortresses were the flagship of medieval military architecture, they remained in RODOS until 1522 when they were defeated by the Ottomans. They went into exile in Malta, but all the Rhodians who helped them fight were massacred. Their final defeat came in 1798 when Malta was annexed by Napoleon.

From 1306 to 1522, RODOS was occupied by the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. They transformed the capital of the island into a fortified city and installed defensive castles throughout the Dodécanèse (the ,…) . An anachronistic remnant of the Crusades, the region finally succumbed to Ottoman attacks in 1522. But fortresses remain in most of the Dodécanèseislands, especially in RHODEwhere the medieval city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The influence of the Genoese, the Venetians and the Knights of Saint John marked the construction of fortifications (citadelles, castles, old towns…) from the beginning of the Middle Ages. Almost all the main islands of the Dodecanese were entitled to their castle and their medieval fortifications. Of particular note here is the Old Town of Rhodes, a Unesco World Heritage Site, featuring the best-preserved medieval complex in the Mediterranean.

You can see the imposing fort, the various inns of the Knights, the alleys and the old stately homes once inhabited by the descendants of the Franco-Venetian lords since the 13th century. The ramparts, narrow cobbled streets, squares and fountains are a remarkable ensemble.

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