The most prominent historical and architectural landmark of the medieval city of Rhodes is the Palace, the administrative seat and residence of the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller. The palace was founded in the early 14th century, in the place of the Byzantine fortress of the 7th century AD, in the northwest edge of the medieval nucleus of the city. With imposing towers, a large internal courtyard, massive walls and elaborate decorative elements, the palace comprises a typical example of the defensive monumental architecture, bringing to mind respective architectural patterns of medieval Europe. In 1856 the Palace of the Grand Master and other monuments of the medieval city, were severely damaged due to an explosion of gunpowder. Its current form is owed to the extensive restorations carried out by the Italians during the years of the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese Islands (1912-1947).