Byzantine Era Rhodes Island
Rhodes was one of the first islands to go over to Christianity. This was mainly a result of Saint Paul visiting the island in 58 A.D., who arrived to preach Christianity in Lindos. At this point, Rhodes had been the designated capital of the Byzantine Province (“thema”) of the Islands, without however regaining the flourishing, by which it used to be characterized in earlier years. The island underwent lots of pirate raids, as did the rest of the islands of the Aegean Sea at that time, among other enemies like the Saracens and the Turks. After the destructive earthquake of 515 AD, it suffered severe damage and shrank significantly, within the limits today indicated by the Byzantine walls and fortifications.
At the same time a large number of Early Christian churches were scattered all over the island. Particularly, in the City of Rhodes, a basilica with mosaic floors of the 5th century AD has been discovered in its south-western quarter (at the point where Pavlou Mela and Cheimarras streets meet), along with a building with mosaics dating back to the same period (in Cheimarras Street) and another basilica near the new stadium. When the Turks invaded the island however, they converted these churches into mosques in order to meet their own religious requirements.