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  • Writer's pictureFrank Klaus Jordan

mother nature takes over ancient battleground - the moat of Rhodes castle

today 495 years ago

It is the early morning of the 04th of September. "Armed" with my photo camera, I'm waiting for the sunrise, sitting on the impressive ramparts of the moat of Rhodes castle. I'm looking into the moat and at these huge walls across me and I try to imagine what must had happened here about 500 years ago.

The Turks, lead by Sultan Süleyman himself, came in June 1522 with 400 ships to the island of Rhodes, bringing 100,000 Ottoman troops to conquer the Island. The Knights of St. John, (Knights Hospitallers) defended the city walls of Rhodes at that time. It was on this 04th of Sept 1522, precisely today 495 years ago, that the Ottoman artillery had their first success and caused an eleven meter wide portion of the city wall, right across me, to fall. Although the Ottoman troops soon gained control of the breach, a counter attack by the Knights Hospitallers succeeded in driving the attackers back across the moat. Until November 1522 the Turks lost nearly half of their troops by attacking the walls of Rhodes, but they couldn't succeed in conquering the city. After five month of fighting both sides where demoralised and exhausted, ready to negotiate.

So, on 22th of December 1522 a truce was signed between the Turkish Sultan and the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John. The knights and their soldiers were leaving Rhodes on 01st of January 1523. With them they took 50 ships loaded with their weapons and any valuables and went to Malta, where the Knights of St. John established their new headquarters.

sunrise over the moat

I wonder what these Turkish soldiers must have felt when they saw these gigantic city walls across me the first time. And I feel sorry for these tens of thousands soldiers who never made it out of this moat down there alive. I also wonder what enabled these few hundred Hospitaller Knights to defend theses walls for so long against such superior Ottoman forces. I'm really glad that I'm not one of them.

I'm here to capture the sunrise between these walls and to see what had happened to this moat during this last 500 years. The Knights of Rhodes as well as the Ottomans have left these walls long time ago. What remains are the old stone walls and mother nature's green messengers, which I have captured below. Enjoy the pictures and don't forget: It doesn't matter where you travel, important is with whom you enjoy it.

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