The Pension of Nicholas Dhascala, Niohori, Rhodes

« A proprement parler, il n’y a pas d’Hôtels à Rhodes, mais on trouve chez Nicolas Dhascala et chez Kirà Hroussy, des chambres meublées très-simplement… »  The 19th-century quarter of ‘Niohori’, Rhodes town, where the Bents stayed (Admiralty map in C.T. Newton, ‘Travels & discoveries in the Levant’, 1865, London,

When the Bents reached Rhodes in February 1885, from Alexandria on the steamer Saturno, there were no hotels for them. Tourists were put up in various pensions in ‘Niohori’, the ‘new town’, as opposed to the famous ‘old town’, in which only Turks and Jews were allowed to stay at night.

In his jaunty piece on Rhodes, ‘Rhodian Society’ (1885), Bent advises that “The  portly  hotel  keeper,  Nicholas, is  sure  to  appropriate  the  stranger  on the  steamer,  and  carry  him  to  his hostelry  in  the  Greek  quarter,  built  on a  sandy  promontory  about  half  a  mile from  the  old  walled  town.  It  is  as quaint  an  inn  as  one  could  possibly desire,  with  snug  little  rooms  giving on  to  a  balcony  which  overhangs  a courtyard  paved  with  pebbles.” (J.T. Bent, ‘Rhodian Society’. Macmillan’s Magazine, 1885, Vol. 52 (May/Oct), 297-8) Parts of this area remain to delight; most have gone.

Pebbled courtyard in Niohori, Rhodes new town (The Bent Archive).

E. Biliotti and L’Abbé Cottret, in their L’île de Rhodes, Rhodes (1881, p. 718), provide a little more detail for the visitor: « A proprement parler, il n’y a pas d’Hôtels à Rhodes, mais on trouve chez Nicolas Dhascala et chez Kirà Hroussy, des chambres meublées très-simplement, il est vrai, mais assez proprement, et une nourriture plus abondante que recherchée, pour 4 ou 5 francs par jour, tout compris. On peut obtenir des conditions plus modérés pour un séjour prolongé. »

Frederic Leighton “Greek Girls Picking up Pebbles by the Sea“, 1871 The scene is the beach of Rhodes Town, looking over towards the Turkish coast – the Bents sailed these straits several times. (The Pérez Simón Collection, Mexico)


The pebbles Bent refers to above are a feature of Rhodian architecture (and other islands in the Dodecanese): “Everything  is  pebbled  in  Nicholas’s hotel — the  courtyard,  the  dining-room, the  balcony,  are  all  laid  out  in  patterns of  black  and  white.  These  pebbles are  quite  a  trade  in  Rhodes;  veiled Turkish  women  wander  along  the shore  in  search  of  them,  and  deposit their  treasures  in  little  heaps  along the  beach.  In  the  good  time  of  the Khedive  Ismail  in  Egypt,  very  large quantities  were  exported  to  Cairo,  and large  fortunes  were  realised  thereby. Even  now  the  trade  is  a  good  one, and  every  Rhodian  house  is  adorned with  them.  If  you  go  out  into  society, you  will  find  before  long,  to  your  cost, that  you  have  to  dance  on  a  pebbled floor…” (J.T. Bent, ‘Rhodian Society’. Macmillan’s Magazine, Vol. 52 (May/Oct), 297-8)