Getting to the top of Filerimos hill up the wide windy road through fragrant pine trees is an experience on its own! And then, you are greeted by hundreds of colorful peacocks! What a welcome!
Filerimos is one of the most favorite sites for locals. We go there for a nice walk with our families, feed the peacocks, get a bottle of 7 Herbs liqueur, enjoy the sunset over the Aegean Sea, or observe planes landing & taking off from the Diagoras Airport. Springtime, especially before the beach season 😉 you can see many people jogging and cycling up the hill. It is also one of the top venues where romantic weddings are performed. Besides the stunning environment, Filerimos hosts ruins of the acropolis of Ancient Ialyssos and a well-preserved medieval monastery. Be prepared, there is a lot to discover!
Filerimos is situated inland between Rhodes town and the airport on the west coast. Getting there is through Trianda town following a windy road. The view gets better after every turn! To the north is the bay of Ialyssos with its resorts overlooking the coastline of Asia Minor and to the west, the villages of Kremasti and Paradeisi. To the south, next to the old military airport, is the village of Pastida and Maritsa. Further away, you can even see the bare summit of Mt. Attavyros.
Arriving at the top of the hill, you will see a well-organized parking plot. To the right side, you will notice the ruins of the ancient Ialyssos, to the left side is a little kiosk with souvenirs and beverages. There you can decide to either start exploring the Archaeological site (left) or walk the footway and see the Panoramic view over Ialyssos (right). Either way, you will be followed by the mating cries of the male peacocks!
When in 1876 archaeologists (expedition led by Sir Alfred Biliotti) found the necropolis of Ialyssos lying between the village of Trianda and Filerimos hill, it was clear that this is the most ancient well-defined settlement on the island dating back 1550-1400 BC. The archaeological finds displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes evidence that the area was inhabited as early as the 2nd millennium BC.
Ancient Ialyssos city-state covered all the northern part of the island and reached its zenith around 5th c. BC. On top of the hill was situated the Acropolis of Ialyssos with the main temple dedicated to the goddess Athena Polias. There are also references on inscriptions of the 3rd and 2nd c. BC. evidencing the cult of Zeus Polieus.
Nowadays, we can see the remains of the Hellenistic temple (3rd or 2nd c. BC). It was destroyed in the 6th c. AD when its building material was used for the triple-aisled basilica of Filerimos. Other founds near the temple are the 5th c. BC pottery, votive offerings from the 9th to the 5th c. BC, and items like jewelry from 5th c. BC displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes. Another important monument of 4th c. BC is the Doric Fountain-house – an ancient water supply system made of porous stone. Two tunnels brought water from a spring and deposited it in a reservoir cut into the rock. The facade of the fountain-house was enclosed with six Doric Columns. The water flowed out through marble spouts in the shape of a lion’s head.
Unfortunately, only a small amount of the findings can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, most of them are in the British Museum and the Louvre.
After the city of Rhodes was built in 408 BC, Ialyssos began to slowly decline as many of the inhabitants moved to Rhodes city. In the ancient Greek world, Ialyssos was famed for the athletic feats of the Eratides family, especially Diagoras, who won the Olympic boxing competition three times. Diagoras was the national hero, and you can see his statue at the entrance of Rhodes city. Also, the International Rhodes Airport is named after Diagoras.
During early Christian times, ancient cult sanctuaries were transformed into churches. On top of the ruins of the ancient temple, a new three-aisled basilica was built dedicated to the Virgin Mary and a Byzantine monastic complex from the 10th c. During the Byzantine period and under the Knights of St. John, a new church with a vaulted roof and two hexagonal chapels were built. Also, a two-story Monastery building with an interior courtyard (atrium) with arched arcades around it, leading to the monks’ cells on the ground floor, and the Abbot’s quarters on the first floor. During the Ottoman invasion, the Monastery was destroyed and used for military purposes.
The Monastery as we see it today was restored during the Italian domination. Extensive excavations were carried out bringing to light the Doric Fountain-house and the earlier phases of the temple of Athena. The reconstructed monastery was inaugurated in 1931 by the 77th Grand Master of the Order of Malta Ludovico Chigi Albani Della Rovere. It was inhabited by Italian Catholic monks (Capuchins) 1912-1943. Unfortunately, monks left the monastery after the Nazi occupation, but they left their secret recipe of the Seven Herbs liqueur (Sette Erbe) to a local greek family. It is a mixture of seven locally-found herbs. The family still takes care of the Monastery area and runs the little canteen where one can taste and purchase the famed liqueur.
Also, worth mentioning is the 15th c. single-cell chapel of Ayios Georgios Chostos situated to the left of the main entrance. It’s interior is fully covered by with superb wall-paintings using a technique developed by the Knights.
The church is well known for housing a copy of the original icon of the Virgin of Filerimos. The icon is attributed to St. Luke the Evangelist and was brought most likely from Jerusalem into Rhodes during the 13th c. where it remained until 1523. When the Ottoman Turks invaded the island, the Knights took the icon with them to France, then Italy, Malta, and Russia, where it stayed until the 1917 revolution. Nowadays, the icon is being kept in the National Museum of Montenegro in the “Blue Chapel”.
In the ’20s, during the reconstruction of the Monastery, a very important part was added to the Mt Filerimos – the Calvary route (via Crucis or the road to Golgotha). It sets off from the square that leads to the westernmost point of the hill. The 400 m (0.248 mi) stone-paved path is dotted with 14 Holy Shrines, works of Italian sculptor Antonio Maraini, presenting Jesus Christ’s Passions and his way to Calvary. At the end of the path is a small square with an imposing cross 17.8 m (58.4 ft) overlooking the Northeast part of the island.
If you happen to visit Filerimos Hill in the evening, it might be one of your best sunset experiences on the island!
There are many more stories and mysterious legends to tell about Filerimos, but it is best to listen to them from locals!!!
If you have been to Filerimos, let us know in the comments below, how you liked it! If you find this information useful and interesting, make sure to share it! We will be very happy and appreciate it!
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Distance from Rhodes Town: 15 km (9.32 mi)
Distance from Trianda Village: 5 km (3.11 mi)
Height: 267 m (876 ft)
Access: Taxi, tour coaches, public buses, rented cars/motorbikes
Open Every Day
Entrance ticket to the Monastery:
Adults – 6 EUR p.p.
Children under 18 years – free of charge
EU Senior Citizens & Students – 50% discount
Calvary Path: Free of charge
Parking: Free of charge