When you go on a holiday somewhere and you want to buy presents or souvenirs there, it is very hard sometimes to find the authentic products among the very touristic (and sometimes fake) stuff. Usually these authentic places are hidden, secret ones and you have to open your eyes and look around carefully to find them.
But now I am telling you a secret: if you are looking for something special, something handmade, something 100% local on the island of Rhodes, you should visit Rodoscope Creative Gallery in the Old Town of Rhodes. During summer 2017 I found a fascinating video (you can see it under the article) that introduces the Rhodian artists and producers and their products which all are available in Rodoscope in one place. If you want to bring home a piece of Rhodes, shopping in Rodoscope can be a good opportunity whether you are looking for watercolor paintings, designer bags, unique indoor or outdoor decoration pieces, unique silver and gold jewellry, wooden decor pieces, stained glass decoration, traditional ceramics, handmade clothes, 100% natural artisan soaps with local raw materials, traditional bakery products of Rhodes, local olive oil and wine products.
But Rodoscope is much more than that! I understood its misson more, when later that year I went there and met Ioana Maria Koukoulas the owner and creator of this unique spot. Ioana who was born and grown up in Brasil as a child of Rhodian parents and worked many years as a designer-engineer opened Rodoscope in 2016 to start a real mission. We all have a dream and Ioana had her own unique vision connected to Rhodes island, so she made it real. She is one of the enthusiastic, determined people on the island, who wants to give something back to the place and also wants to highlight and increase the values of the local people and their fantastic creations and effort. Her idea was to create a unique spot in the Old Town of Rhodes (UNESCO heritage site) – among the several touristic shops – where people can find only 100% local Rhodian products and creations. She found this amazing place in the Old Town 7 years ago, and since that time she is dreaming of the perfect concept.
“I see the Old Town how it is today, and I can’t accept this situation. We need to preserve and represent our values, artists and products. I also know a lot of locals who are trying very hard to go on. I wanted to create a space for them to express themselves in many different ways. Rodoscope is not only a place of purchase.” – she says.
So this romantic medieval building with a lovely inner garden filled with citrus trees gives the space for local artists to have a nice, quality sales point, and also gives the possibility for them to do actions, to organize workshops or exhibitions. Ioana tries to make a movement through Rodoscope, so she offers the place for different kind of events – whatever increases the local values and helps local people to improve and to express themselves. Her mission doesn’t make a difference between small young artizans and well-established local brands or artists. She welcomes everyone with love and openness:
“Usually I don’t say no if someone finds me and shows his/her products. Because refusing someone’s creations is like cutting the wings. I always buy at least a few pieces to give them some positive energy to go on.”
So you can definetely find all varieties of products from various local artizans from different parts of the island. You can find here the art pieces of the famous and prestigious Nassos Ceramic, the pieces of Avgitidou fashion – the first dress manufactory of the island established in 1975, the unique jewelry pieces of Lefteris Skarpetis goldsmith who follows the traditional pieces of his father, Manolis with a modern twist, you can find the high quality wine and olive oil products of the Passalis family, and of course the traditional local sweets made by Filema Rodion and some other fantastic products from Apollona village (such as soaps, wines, beewax, etc.) as they are always very active about keeping their heritage, and you will find on the shelves the 100% natural herbal beewax products of Michalis Dramountanis a nature enthusiastic.
And if you go to Rodoscope you also have the possibility to take a seat and have a really good coffee in the charming garden area under the mandarin trees.
“The concept of a ‘mixed shop’ is coming from Brazil. I saw that 2 years ago when I went back there. In Brazil almost every craftshop has a coffee corner which gives the possibility for the people to get to know the owner and ask him/her about the products, to have a talk in a more natural, personal environment.” – says Ioana, who is really happy when she sees how people gather and connect to each other in Rodoscope. “Few days ago I had people sitting at every table and suddenly they sat in a circle, spent here 3 hours talking to each other. And they told me that the place made them to make a connection between each other.”
So far I could enjoy Rodoscope garden during summer evenings having nice talks with Ioana, and also during this winter I participated an amazing uplifting workshop organized in Rodoscope. I really feel that this place has a mission, has a special energy and I wish Ioana and all the local artists and producers to have a succesful journey in the future to create more and more for beautiful Rhodes island and Her visitors.
Click on the map below to find Rodoscope:
Ippodamou 39, 22410 Rodos – GREECE