Young Frenchman’s Legacy of Cultural Dialogue in Greece’s Rhodes



A foundation that promotes dialogue between cultures in the Mediterranean and a medieval garden in the heart of its medieval town are the two legacies left to Rhodes by Marc de Montalembert, a young Frenchman who died in a diving accident in 1993 in Turkey.

The garden and foundation were set up in his memory by his parents, Count Marc-Rene de Montalembert and his wife Manuela, to whom he had written frequently about his love for Rhodes’ Old Town and the garden.

They bought a property in the Old Town, set up the foundation and planted a unique garden with only Medieval plants and trees.

The foundation allows young people in Mediterranean countries to discover the variety and multiculturalism of the region, promoting mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue.

Each year it awards a scholarship to a young researcher up to 27 years old from the Mediterranean region, working on topics relating to the Mediterranean, and a venue for meetings and seminars on cultural, scientific and artistic themes.

This year’s scholarship went to French national Marine Messina for her voluntary work at a reception centre for young and unaccompanied migrants in Cyprus.

The garden is situated next to the city’s medieval walls and between the Byzantine Churches of St George and St Mark. It is planted with 50 kinds of trees, flowers and shrubs that are listed in documents dating to 1484, at the time of the medieval knights in Rhodes.

Lemon trees, mandarin trees, orange trees, medlar trees, myrtle and bay trees, anemones, lavender, mint, thyme, acanthus, jasmine, artemisium, santolina, violets, asphodels, narcissi, 13 kinds of roses and many other varieties are grown, creating a green and fragrant oasis in the heart of Old Town.

(Source: AMNA)