The Castle of Monolithos (Το Κάστρο της Μονολίθου in Greek) is perhaps the most impressive castle of Rhodes and it is located near Monolithos village at the southwest of Rhodes. In old times, this castle was considered one of the four more powerful fortresses on the island, but today only the external walls fortifications remain. Inside the perimeter of the walls there are two 15th century chapels, St. Panteleimon and St. George. Looking around the ruins it is easy to notice that the castle was actually built on the foundations of another, older castle. It was built by Master d’ Aubusson in 1476 on the ruins of an older Byzantine fortification.
But it’s not for the ruins or even the beautiful whitewashed churches that you would embark on the strenuous climb to the top – it’s the breathtaking view from there that looks over the sea and the numerous islets off the western coast, the mountain of Akramytis and innumerable hills, as well as the village of Monolithos below. This fortress, along with others, such as those of Old Town in Rhodes center and Lindos, was of great importance as it gave the knights a clear command over strategically vital Mediterranean sea routes.
The fortress at Monolithos came under attack many times but none were ever able to conquer it, the invaders found it impossible to scale the steep slopes. Unfortunately, time has taken its toll and today, only a few parts of the fort buildings survive, although those that remain are very well preserved.
The steep climb to the top is worth it for the delightful vistas alone with views of the mountain of Akramytis to the north, the beach at Fourni to the east and the island of Halki in the distance. The area around Monolithos Castle is also worth exploring. A road from the village at Monolithos village leads to a small beach at Fourni. The pebble and sand beach is in a peaceful setting with a beach canteen that opens in the summer and it makes an ideal family day out. Bizarre wind sculpted rocks formations line the back of the beach and one huge rock looks precariously balanced as though it might topple over at any moment. Nearby are some caves that have been carved into the rock by early Christians, but they are not easy to find and the steps leading down to the caves can be precipitous.
The journey to the top will leave any visitor literally speechless. A must destination for all the ancient world / nature lovers!