Brown sandstone facades are embellished by white marble plaques in which coats-of-arms are carved in relief. Some buildings have decorative carving around the windows and doorways. One of the most characteristic elements of the Knights' buildings on Rhodes are the strongly marked string courses. A few of the doorways are Renaissance in style but the majority are Gothic. However in the architecture of the Convent's buildings it is the east that predominates over the north; most of the buildings are low, without gables and have flat roofs.
The first major building project on Rhodes was the construction of the Conventual Church of St John, in a prominent position in the town, opposite the Palace of the Grand Masters. Like most of the Knights' churches, in the Gothic style but incorporating Classical masonry in its fabric.The granite columns that divided the nave from the aisles in St John's were taken from the site of an ancient temple while the tombs of Grand Masters' de Juillac(1376) and de Milly (1441) were reused ancient Greek sarcophagi. St John's was accidentally blown up in 1856 and all that remains, apart from the foundations, is the reconstructed Loggia that connected the Conventual Church with the Palace. The Loggia or Circus sive Lobia Conventus was where every knight had to perform gun drill at least once a week. It crosses the top end of the main thoroughfare running through the Collachium known today as the Street of the Knights.
In November 1320 the General Chapter changed the constitution when it decided to assign the great officers of the Order to a particular langue.Thus the pilerii or leaders of each langue held a particular position; the grand commander was the head of the Langue of Provence; the marshal marescalluas was head of the langue of Auvergne; the hospitaller hospitalarius was leader of the Langue of France; the admiral admiratus was hea of the Langue of Italy; the darper magnus conservator was head of the Langue of Aragon; the grand turcopolier, magnus turcopolerius was head of the Langue of England and the treasurer was the hea of the langue of Germany.
The balance of power within the Order caused internal friction during the rule of Grand Master de Lastic (147-1454). The predominant power of the French contingent gave them the majority of the important posts in the administration and this naturally caused resentment within the other national groups. At the General Chapter of 1461 convoked by Grand Master Zacosta a Spanish Knight, it was decided to split the Langue of Aragon into two, one part retaining the old name and rank while the other was named the Langue of Castille and assumed eighth place in the order of precedence.
While the knights lived in their own houses elsewhere within the collachium, the inns were where they participated in communal life; dined together, exchanged the gossip of the day and entertained visitors from Europe. The only members of the langue who lived at the auberge were the novices and junior knights who would have slept in a communal dormitory with in the auberge. While the auberges project a plain facade onto the street, many of them have an open gallery at the back that overlooks a private garden.
Auberge of Provence
Set above the door is a cruciform frame enclosing the arms of the King of France, the Order, Grand Master del Caretto (151-1521) and Fra' F de Flota.
Auberge of Aragon
From the hall is a passage over the street to the building opposite that may also have belonged to the Inn of Aragon. The escutcheon on the facade belongs to Grand Master Fluvian (1421-1437). After the division of the lange in 1461, the Langues of Aragon and Castille continued to use the same building.
Auberge of Aragon
One of the most imposing inns is the Auberge of France in the Street of the Knights. On the facade two mouldings follow the gradient of the street, the string course separates the ground floor from the upper story . The upper moulding skirts the windows which are decorated with a twisted rope design. Rain water was shed from the roof as the street through conical waterspouts in the form of crocodiles. At the top of the inn is a parapet with battlements, interrupted at intervals by 4 semi circular turrets. Inscriptions on the facade and internal arcade record the names of the founders and the different building phases. Like most buildings on Rhodes the Auberge of France dates from after the Siege of 1480 and the earthquake the following year.
Auberge of France
The Inn of Italy at the bottom of the Street is a small building in relation to the number of Italian knights serving at the Convent. A small entrance leads to courtyard with a well; every inn had its own donkey drawn well. On the bottom corner of the Street of the Knights is the magnificent Sacra Infermeria completed in 1483.