Early travelers described Rhodes as a town of two parts: a castle or high town (Collachium) and a lower city. Today Rhodes town—sometimes referred to as Ródos town—is still a city of two parts: the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that incorporates the high town and lower city, and the modern metropolis, or New Town, spreading away from the walls that encircle the Old Town. The narrow streets of the Old Town are for the most part closed to cars and are lined with Orthodox and Catholic churches, Turkish houses (some of which follow the ancient orthogonal plan), and medieval public buildings with exterior staircases and facades elegantly constructed of well-cut limestone from Lindos. Careful reconstruction in recent years has enhanced the harmonious effect.
Spreading out in all directions from the original city walls, the New Town is "new" only in relative terms—islanders began settling outside the walls of the Old Town with the arrival of the Turks in 1522. Italians added a great deal of flair in the first part of the 20th century, adding the art deco administrative buildings clustered near the harbor. Later growth has also been relatively kind to New Town, and the streets of low-rise modern apartment blocks are tree-lined and many commercial streets are attractive pedestrian walkways.