This is one of the smallest and most charming churches in the old town. It is dedicated
to St. Mark. According to some, like Lawrence Durrell in his Reflections on a Marine
Venus (1953), it was the church of the Venetian merchants who resided in Rhodes
during the Knights’ rule (1309 - 1522).
The church is built in the shape of a cross, with the western arm of the cross slightly
longer than the others, resembling a Latin cross rather than a Greek one. Where the
arms of the cross meet, the church is covered by a small and low dome (τρουλοκαμάρα).
The dome, unlike most other Byzantine churches, is not placed on an drum, but directly
on the arches. This style is relatively rare but seems to have spread to Rhodes during
the 14th century, in which the church was built.
On the south wall you can see the remains of frescos of Christ Pantocrator, probably
dating to the late 15th century. These wall paintings were uncovered during restoration
works after they had been whitewashed by the Ottomans who turned the church into
a ‘meshid’ (small mosque) following their conquest of Rhodes in 1522. Reminiscent
of this period are the mihrabs (prayer niches, indicating the direction of Mecca) both
inside the church and outside.
A small path leads to the nearby garden and restored Ottoman pavilion of the Marc
de Montalembert Foundation.