The fortifications of the town of Rhodes are shaped like a defensive crescent around the medieval town and consist mostly in a modern fortification composed of a huge wall made of an embankment encased in stone, equipped with scarp, bastions, moat, counterscarp and glacis. The portion of fortifications facing the harbour is instead composed of a crenellated wall. On the moles towers and defensive forts are found.
They were built by the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John by enhancing the existing Byzantine walls starting from 1309, the year in which they took possession of the island after a three-year struggle.
Like most of the defensive walls they were built with a technique called rubble masonry which allows for a great mass capable of withstanding the gunshots with smooth external stone faces to avoid climbing.
In 1440 the Mameluke sultan of Egypt tried without success to conquer the town sieging it for 40 days. In 1480 Rhodes was besieged by the troops of Mehmed II but the powerful army of the conqueror manned with 100,000 troops and 170 ships was repelled by the courage of the Knights and the strong fortifications, notwithstanding the outnumbering assailants. In 1481 a destructive earthquake struck the island causing severe damages to the houses and the fortification and about 30,000 casualties. A new Ottoman siege could not be withstood, so the Knights made available their great financial resources and in a very short time the most important palaces of the town and the fortifications were rebuilt.
The Bastion of Italy (or Post of Italy) in which the Ottomans had opened a breach in 1480 was rebuilt with a powerful chemin de ronde for the reverse fire of cannons on the nearby spans of wall. This bastion was named 'Bastion Del Carretto' after the Grand Master. The gate of Saint John was closed and a pentagonal bastion with the same name was built on the western side of the walls to guard Gate d'Amboise. After The Ottoman conquered Rhodes in 1522 they did not demolish the walls but repaired them and kept them under maintenance during the four centuries of their rule.
The fortifications of Rhodes were frozen at 1522 so that Rhodes is one of the few European walled towns that still shows the transition between the classical medieval fortification and the modern ones. The fortifications that still today make a belt around the medieval town, so that it is a separate neighbour from the new town, were restored during the Italian administration of the island. There are 11 gates to access the old city. Some of them are ancient, some are modern.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.