The History of the Temple
The Temple of St. Nicholas, one of the most beautiful churches of Rhodes, is situated in the Fountoukli district, among the pines and blooming myrtles, on a high slope of the hill of Prophet Elijah, close to cool springs.
This small elegant looking temple was built in the 15th century, in the times of the Byzantine Empire. One of the governor-generals of the Byzantine Emperor, Nikolaos (Nicholas) Vardoanis, who was held in deep respect by the local people, dedicated the construction of the church to the memory of his three children who had died from the mumps. A total of 600 years have passed but thanks to the frescos on the walls of the temple we still know some of the children`s names, and have a clear idea of what the kids looked like. The name of Vardoanis`s only daughter was Mary (Maria), and his younger son was named George (Georgiy). The older boy`s name faded away though the image of his face remained. It was planned that the Temple of St. Nicholas would form a basis for a monastery, but fate decreed otherwise… In spite of that fact, the church continued to function and was revered by Rhodians even during the times of Ottoman rule. Happily, the building escaped the common fate of other Greek temples that were later converted into mosques. What was the real reason that helped to keep the temple untouched: athe fortunate location of the church that was situated in the inner part of the island, the sincere prayers of believers in God or the miraculous help of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker himself? Whatever the reason, this architectural masterpiece is a perfect monument to love and sorrow. It is still considered to be one of the greatest attractions of the island of Rhodes.
The Structure of the Temple
The Temple of St. Nicholas in Fountoukli is constructed in a style which is not typical of Rhodes. It is a church with four naves where the isles of columns divide the space of the temple into 5 parts: a central square part and four niches covered with semi-domes. Later, a bell tower was attached to the building of the church.