Ruins of the Feraklos Castle in the island of Rhodos stand on the top of a 150 m high rocky hill overlooking the fishing village of Charaki. Before the arrival of the Knights of St. John to Rhodos from Cyprus, the island (which formerly belonged to the Byzantine Empire) had been temporarily seized by Arab pirates, who used the fortress as a stronghold for a number of years. When the Knights took over the Dodecanese in 1306, they ejected the pirates, and strengthened the castle turning Feraklos into one of the best fortified fortresses in Rhodos. Its location, on the eastern coast of the island opposite the coast of Asia Minor made it a great look-out post from where the ship traffic could be closely monitored.
The castle also served as a prison where both prisoners-of-war and also Arab and Turkish merchants were held. Merchants caught by the Knights during their naval raids in eastern Mediterranean were released after they had paid a large sum of ransom. In 1445 the castle came under attack by the Ottoman Turks, in one of their first attempts to gain entry into Rhodes, but they did not succeed. Feraklos eventually fell into Turkish hands after the Second Siege of Rhodes, when the mighty army of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent defeated the Knights Hospitaller and expelled them from entire Dodecanese archipelago. Feraklos surrendered on 3rd January 1523, two weeks after the surrender of the city of Rhodes, the capital of the Knights Hospitaller State in Dodecanese.
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