Rhodes (Greek: Ρόδος, Ródos, ˈroðos) is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 115,490 (2011 census), and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. It is located northeast of Crete, southeast of Athens and just off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. Rhodes' nickname is The island of the Knights.
Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
2.3 Geology - Earthquakes,
3.2 Medieval period,
3.3 Modern history,
6.1 Towns and villages,
8.1 Road network,
8.2 Cars and motorbikes,
10.2 In popular culture,
10.3 Notable people,
11 International relations
11.1 Twin towns -- Sister cities,
12 See also,
15 External links,
The island has been known as Ρόδος in Greek throughout its history. In addition, the island has been called Italian: Rodi, Ottoman Turkish: ردوس Rodos, and Ladino: Rodi or Rodes.
Rhodes is closer to Asia Minor than to the Greek mainland.
The island of Rhodes is shaped like a spearhead, 79.7 km (49.5 mi) long and 38 km (24 mi) wide, with a total area of approximately 1,400 square kilometres (541 sq mi) and a coastline of approximately 220 km (137 mi). The city of Rhodes is located at the northern tip of the island, as well as the site of the ancient and modern commercial harbours. The main air gateway (Diagoras International Airport, IATA code: RHO) is located 14 km (9 mi) to the southwest of the city in Paradisi. The road network radiates from the city along the east and west coasts.
Outside of the city of Rhodes, the island is dotted with small villages and beach resorts, among them Faliraki, Lindos, Kremasti, Haraki, Pefkos, Archangelos, Afantou, Koskinou, Embona (Attavyros), Paradisi, and Trianta (Ialysos).
It is situated 363 km (226 mi) east-south-east from Greece mainland and only 18 km (11 mi) from the southern shore of Turkey.
The interior of the island is mountainous, sparsely inhabited and covered with forests of pine (Pinus brutia) and cypress (Cupressus sempervirens). While the shores are rocky, the island has arable strips of land where citrus fruit, wine grapes, vegetables, olives and other crops are grown. See Natural history of Rhodes
The Rhodian population of fallow deer was found to be genetically distinct in 2005, and to be of urgent conservation concern. In Petaludes Valley (Greek for "Valley of the Butterflies"), large numbers of tiger moths gather during the summer months. Mount Attavyros, at 1,216 metres (3,990 ft), is the island's highest point of elevation. See Natural history of Rhodes
Geology - Earthquakes:
Earthquakes include the 226 BC earthquake that destroyed the Colossus of Rhodes; one on 3 May 1481 which destroyed much of the city of Rhodes; and one on 26 June 1926.
On 15 July 2008, Rhodes was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake causing minor damage to a few old buildings. One woman lost her life when she fell down stairs while trying to flee her home.
Climate data for Rhodes
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Source: Hong Kong Observatory
Further information: Rhodes (city)
The island was inhabited in the Neolithic period, although little remains of this culture. In the 16th century BC, the Minoans came to Rhodes. Later Greek mythology recalled a Rhodian race called the Telchines and associated the island of Rhodes with Danaus; it was sometimes nicknamed Telchinis. In the 15th century BC, Mycenaean Greeks invaded. After the Bronze Age collapse, the first renewed outside contacts were with Cyprus. In the 8th century BC, the island's settlements started to form, with the coming of the Dorians, who built the three important cities of Lindos, Ialyssos and Kameiros, which together with Kos, Cnidus and Halicarnassus (on the mainland) made up the so-called Dorian Hexapolis (Greek for six cities).
Before archaeology, myth stood in for blanks in the historical record. In Pindar's ode, the island was said to be born of the union of Helios the sun god and the nymph Rhode, and the cities were named for their three sons. The rhoda is a pink hibiscus native to the island. Diodorus Siculus added that Actis, one of the sons of Helios and Rhode, travelled to Egypt. He built the city of Heliopolis and taught the Egyptians the science of astrology.
In the second half of the 8th century, the sanctuary of Athena received votive gifts that are markers for cultural contacts: small ivories from the Near East and bronze objects from Syria. At Kameiros on the northwest coast, a former Bronze Age site, where the temple was founded in the 8th century, there is another notable contemporaneous sequence of carved ivory figurines. Phoenician presence on the island at Ialysos is attested in traditions recorded much later by Rhodian historians.
The Persians invaded and overran the island, but they were in turn defeated by forces from Athens in 478 BC. The cities joined the Athenian League. When the Peloponnesian War broke out in 431 BC, Rhodes remained largely neutral, although it remained a member of the League. The war lasted until 404 BC, but by this time Rhodes had withdrawn entirely from the conflict and decided to go her own way.
In 408 BC, the cities united to form one territory. They built the city of Rhodes, a new capital on the northern end of the island. Its regular plan was superintended by the Athenian architect Hippodamus. The Peloponnesian War had so weakened the entire Greek culture that it lay open to invasion. In 357 BC, the island was conquered by the king Mausolus of Caria, then it fell to the Persians in 340 BC. Their rule was also short. To the great relief of its citizens, Rhodes became a part of the growing empire of Alexander the Great in 332 BC, after he defeated the Persians.
Following the death of Alexander, his generals vied for control of the kingdom. Three: Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antigonus, succeeded in dividing the kingdom among themselves. Rhodes formed strong commercial and cultural ties with the Ptolemies in Alexandria, and together formed the Rhodo-Egyptian alliance that controlled trade throughout the Aegean in the third century BC.
The city developed into a maritime, commercial and cultural center; its coins circulated nearly everywhere in the Mediterranean. Its famous schools of philosophy, science, literature and rhetoric shared masters with Alexandria: the Athenian rhetorician Aeschines, who formed a school at Rhodes; Apollonius of Rhodes; the observations and works of the astronomers Hipparchus and Geminus, the rhetorician Dionysios Trax. Its school of sculptors developed, under Pergamese influence a rich, dramatic style that can be characterized as "Hellenistic Baroque". Agesander of Rhodes, with two other Rhodian sculptors, carved the famous Laocoön group in the Vatican Museums, and the large sculptures rediscovered at Sperlonga in the villa of Tiberius, probably in the early Imperial period.
In 305 BC, Antigonus directed his son, Demetrius, to besiege Rhodes in an attempt to break its alliance with Egypt. Demetrius created huge siege engines, including a 180 ft (55 m) battering ram and a siege tower named Helepolis that weighed 360,000 pounds (163,293 kg). Despite this engagement, in 304 BC after only one year, he relented and signed a peace agreement, leaving behind a huge store of military equipment. The Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to erect a statue of their sun god, Helios, the statue since called the Colossus of Rhodes.
Throughout the third century BC, Rhodes attempted to secure her independence and her commerce, most especially her virtual control over the grain trade in the eastern Mediterranean. Both of these goals were dependent upon no one of the three great Hellenistic states achieving dominance, and consequently the Rhodians pursued a policy of maintaining a balance of power among the Antigonids, Seleucids and Ptolemies, even if that meant going to war with her traditional ally, Egypt. To this end they employed as leverage their economy and their excellent navy, which was manned by proverbially the finest sailors in the Mediterranean world: "If we have ten Rhodians, we have ten ships."
Rhodes successfully carried on this policy through the course of the third century BC, an impressive achievement for what was essentially a democratic state. By the end of that period, however, the balance of power was crumbling, as declining Ptolemaic power made Egypt an attractive target for Seleucid ambitions. In 203/2 BC the young and dynamic kings of Antigonid Macedon and Seleucid Asia, Philip V and Antiochus III, agreed to accept - at least temporarily - one another's military plans, Philip's campaign in the Aegean and western Anatolia and Antiochus' final solution of the Egyptian question. Heading a coalition of small states that checked Philip's navy but not his superior army and now without a third power to which to turn, the Rhodians appealed in 201 BC to the newest world power, Rome.
Despite being exhausted by the titanic struggle against Hannibal (218-201 BC) the Romans agreed to intervene, having already been stabbed in the back by Philip during the war against Carthage. The Senate saw the appeal from Rhodes and her allies as the opportunity to pressure Philip. The result was the Second Macedonian War (200-196 BC), which ended Macedon's role as a major player and preserved Rhodian independence.
The Romans actually withdrew from the Balkan Peninsula, but the resulting power vacuum quickly drew in Antiochus and subsequently the Romans, who easily polished off (192-188 BC) the last Mediterranean power that might even vaguely threaten the city on the Tiber. Having provided Rome with valuable naval help in her first foray into Asia, the Rhodians were rewarded with territory and enhanced status. The Romans once again evacuated the east - the Senate preferred clients to provinces - but it was clear that Rome now ruled the world and Rhodian autonomy was ultimately dependent upon good relations with them.
And those good graces soon evaporated in the wake of the Third Macedonian War (171-168 BC). Rhodes remained scrupulously neutral during the war, but in the view of hostile elements in the Senate she had been a bit too friendly with the defeated King Perseus. Some actually proposed declaring war on the island republic, but this was averted. In 164, Rhodes became a permanent ally of Rome, ending an independence that no longer had any meaning. It was said that the Romans ultimately turned against the Rhodians because the islanders were the only people they had encountered who were more arrogant than themselves.
After surrendering its independence Rhodes became a cultural and educational center for Roman noble families and was especially noted for its teachers of rhetoric, such as Hermagoras and the unknown author of Rhetorica ad Herennium. At first, the state was an important ally of Rome and enjoyed numerous privileges, but these were later lost in various machinations of Roman politics. Cassius eventually invaded the island and sacked the city. In the early Empire Rhodes became a favorite place for political exiles.
In the 1st century AD, the Emperor Tiberius spent a brief term of exile on Rhodes. Saint Paul brought Christianity to people on the island. Rhodes reached her zenith in the 3rd century.
In 395, the long Byzantine period began for Rhodes, when the eastern half of the Roman empire became gradually more Greek.
Beginning after 600 AD, its influence in maritime issues was manifested in the collection of maritime laws known as "Rhodian Sea Law" (Nomos Rhodion Nautikos), accepted throughout the Mediterranean and in use throughout Byzantine times (and influencing the development of admiralty law up to the present).
Rhodes was occupied by the Islamic Umayyad forces of Muawiyah I in 654, who carried off the remains of the Colossus of Rhodes. The island was captured by the Arabs before 674 as part of their attack on Constantinople. When their fleet was destroyed by storms and Greek fire, the island was evacuated. In 715 the Byzantine fleet launched a rebellion at Rhodes, which led to the installation of Theodosios III on the Byzantine throne.
From the early 8th to the 12th centuries, Rhodes belonged to the Cibyrrhaeot Theme of the Byzantine Empire, and a center for shipbuilding and commerce. In circa 1090, it was occupied by the Muslim forces of the Seljuk Turks, not long after the Battle of Manzikert. Rhodes was recaptured by the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos during the First Crusade.
As Byzantine central power weakened under the Angeloi emperors, in the first half of the 13th century, Rhodes became the center of an independent domain under Leo Gabalas and his brother John, until it was occupied by the Genoese in 1248-1250. The Genoese were evicted by the Empire of Nicaea, after which the island became a regular province of the Nicaean state (and later of the restored Byzantine Empire). In 1305, the island was given as a fief to Andrea Morisco, a Genoese adventurer who had entered Byzantine service.
In 1309, the Byzantine era came to an end when the island was occupied by forces of the Knights Hospitaller. Under the rule of the newly named "Knights of Rhodes", the city was rebuilt into a model of the European medieval ideal. Many of the city's famous monuments, including the Palace of the Grand Master, were built during this period.
The strong walls which the knights had built withstood the attacks of the Sultan of Egypt in 1444, and a siege by the Ottomans under Mehmed II in 1480. Eventually, however, Rhodes fell to the large army of Suleiman the Magnificent in December 1522. The few surviving knights were permitted to retire to the Kingdom of Sicily, from where they would later move their base of operations to Malta. Rhodes was thereafter a possession of the Ottoman Empire (see Sanjak of Rhodes) for nearly four centuries.
The island was populated by ethnic groups from the surrounding nations, including Jews. Under Ottoman rule, they generally did fairly well, but discrimination and bigotry occasionally arose. In February 1840, the Jews of Rhodes were falsely accused of ritually murdering a Christian boy. This became known as the Rhodes blood libel.
Austria opened a post-office at RHODUS (Venetian name) before 1864, as witnessed by those two stamps with Franz-Josef head:
In 1912, Italy seized Rhodes from the Turks during the Italo-Turkish War. The island's population thus bypassed many of the events associated with the "exchange of the minorities" between Greece and Turkey. Due to the Treaty of Lausanne, the island, together with the rest of the Dodecanese, was officially assigned to Italy. It became the core of their possession of the Isole Italiane dell'Egeo.
Following the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943, the British attempted to get the Italian garrison on Rhodes to change sides. This was anticipated by the German Army, which succeeded in occupying the island. In great measure, the German occupation caused the British failure in the subsequent Dodecanese Campaign.
On 19 July 1944, the Gestapo secret German police rounded up the island's nearly 2,000 Jewish inhabitants to send them to extermination camps. About 160 of the island's more than 600 Greek Jews survived. The Turkish Consul Selahattin Ülkümen succeeded, at considerable risk to himself and his family, in saving 42 Jewish families, about 200 persons in total, who had Turkish citizenship or were members of Turkish citizens' families.
In 1947, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese, Rhodes was united with Greece.
In 1949, Rhodes was the venue for negotiations between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, concluding with the 1949 Armistice Agreements.
The Colossus of Rhodes was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This giant bronze statue was documented as once standing at the harbour. It was completed in 280 BC and destroyed in an earthquake in 224 BC. No trace of the statue remains today.
Historical sites on the island of Rhodes include the Acropolis of Lindos, the Acropolis of Rhodes with the Temple of Pythian Apollo and an ancient theatre and stadium, ancient Ialysos, ancient Kamiros, the Governor's Palace, Rhodes Old Town (walled medieval city), the Palace of the Grand Masters, Kahal Shalom Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, the Archeological Museum, the ruins of the castle of Monolithos, the castle of Kritinia, St. Catherine Hospice and Rhodes Footbridge.
The predominant religion is Greek Orthodox. There is a significant Roman Catholic minority on the island, many of whom are descendants of Italians who remained after the end of the Italian occupation. Rhodes has a Muslim minority, a remnant from Ottoman Turkish times.
The Jewish community of Rhodes goes back to the 1st century AD. In 1480, the Jews actively defended the walled city against the Turks.Kahal Shalom, established in 1557, is the oldest synagogue in Greece and still stands in the Jewish quarter of the old town of Rhodes. At its peak in the 1920s, the Jewish community was one-third of the town's total population. In the 1940s, there were about 2000 Jews of various ethnic backgrounds. The Germans deported and killed most of the community during the Holocaust. Kahal Shalom has been renovated with the help of foreign donors but few Jews live year-round in Rhodes today, so services are not held on a regular basis.
The present municipality Rhodes was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 10 former municipalities, that became municipal units (constituent communities in brackets):
Afantou (Afantou, Archipoli),
Archangelos (Archangelos, Malonas, Masari),
Attavyros (Embonas, Kritinia, Monolithos, Siana, Agios Isidoros),
Kallithea (Kalythies, Koskinou, Psinthos),
Kameiros (Soroni, Apollona, Dimylia, Kalavarda, Platania, Salakos, Fanes),
Lindos (Lindos, Kalathos, Laerma, Lardos, Pylona),
Petaloudes (Kremasti, Pastida, Maritsa, Paradeisi, Theologos, Damatria),
South Rhodes (Gennadi, Apolakkia, Arnitha, Asklipieio, Vati, Istrios, Kattavia, Lachania, Mesanagros, Profilia),
The municipality covers the island of Rhodes and a few uninhabited offshore islets. Rhodes city was the capital of the former Dodecanese Prefecture. Rhodes is the most populated island of the South Aegean Region.
Towns and villages:
Rhodes has 43 towns and villages:
The economy is tourist-oriented, and the most developed sector is service. Small industries process imported raw materials for local retail, though other industry includes agricultural goods production, stockbreeding, fishery and winery.
The road network of the island is mostly paved. There are four major arteries:
Rhodes-Kamiros Province Avenue: Two lane, runs through the west coast north to south and connects Rhodes City with Diagoras Airport and Kamiros.,
Rhodes-Lindos National Avenue (Greek National Road 95): Four and two lane, runs mainly inland north to south and connects Rhodes City with Lindos. Part from Rhodes Town until Kolympia is now 4 lanes, the rest until Lindos is 2 lanes.,
Rhodes-Kallithea Province Avenue: Two lanes, runs through the east coast north to south and connects Rhodes City with Faliraki Resort.,
Tsairi-Airport National Avenue: Four and two lane, runs inland east to west and connects the east coast with the west and the airport.,
Lindos-Katavia Province Avenue: Two lane, begins just before Lindos and though villages and resorts leads to Katavia village, the southernmost of the island, from where a further deviation leads to Prasonissi.,
Rhodes Town Ring Road: First part beginning from the new marina and ending to Rhodes-Kallithea province avenue is now almost complete as a four lane expressway. Traffic lights will be installed till the end of 2013 which will mark the completion of the road making left turns available.,
Further widening of E-95 from Kolympia to Lindos. This is to be four lane with a jersey barrier in the middle. It is still unknown when constructions will begin and most importantly end.,
Plans also exist for a new four lane express road connecting Rhodes Town with Diagoras Airport that is intended to relieve congestion on the coastal west avenue.,
Cars and motorbikes:
Families in Rhodes often own more than one car, along with a motorbike. Traffic jams are common particularly in the summer months. The island is served by 450 taxis.
Bus services are handled by two operators:
RODA: Rhodes City company that also services suburban areas (Faliraki, Ialysos, Kremasti, Airport, Pastida, Maritsa, Paradeisi) and the entire west coast (blue-white colored).,
KTEL: State-owned buses that serve villages and resorts in the east coast.,
Rhodes has three airports but only one is public. Diagoras Airport, one of the biggest in Greece, is the main entrance/exit point for both locals and tourists. The island is well connected with other major Greek cities and islands as well as with major European capitals and cities via charter flights.
Rhodes International Airport, "Diagoras": public airport, 14 km (9 mi) southwest of Rhodes City, third in international passenger volume and fourth in total passenger volume in Greece.,
Rhodes Maritsa Airport: closed to public, near Maritsa village. Built in 1938 by the Italians, it was the first airport of the island and was the public airport until 1977. Nowadays, it serves the Hellenic Air Force and is sometimes used for car races.,
Kalathos Airfield: inoperative, 7 km (4 mi) north of Lindos. Built by the Italians during World War II, was called Aeroporto di Gadurrà. Today only the runway is visible.,
Kattavia Airstrip, located in the south of the island it was an emergency airstrip built by the Italians during World War II. Today it is abandoned.,
Two pilot schools offer aviation services (small plane rental and island hopping).
Rhodes has five ports, three of them in Rhodes City, one in the west coast near Kamiros and one in east coast near Lardos.
Central Port: located in the city of Rhodes serves exclusively international traffic consisting of scheduled services to/from Turkey, cruise ships and yachts. Since Summer 2012, the port is also a homeport for Costa Cruises during the summer period.,
Kolona Port: opposite and north of the central port, serves intra-Dodecanese traffic and all sizes yachts.,
Akandia Port: the new port of the island, south and next to the central port, being built since 1960s, for domestic, cargo and general purpose traffic. No land facilities exist although the municipality is in the process of erecting a passenger terminal.,
Kamiros Skala Dock: 30 km (19 mi) south west of the city near Ancient Kamiros ruins serves mainly the island of Halki,
Lardos Dock: formerly servicing local industries, now under development as an alternative port for times when the central port is inaccessible due to weather conditions. It is situated in a rocky shore near the village of Lardos in south east Rhodes.,
Football: AS Rodos and Diagoras F.C. are the island's biggest teams and rivals. Both used to compete at the national level until a couple of years ago reaching National B' division but currently both compete at the first-tier local level. Local football leagues (organized at the prefecture level) contain three divisions with more than 50 teams. Many stadiums are grass covered.,
Basketball: Colossus BC sponsors professional basketball and currently plays in the top-level Greek Basket League. The local league includes two divisions with 14 teams. Two indoor courts exist in Rhodes City, and one each in Ialysos and Kremasti.,
Volleyball: local teams only.,
Water polo: mostly amateur based. There is not any single indoor pool on the island.,
Rugby: introduced in 2007. Teams compete at the national level.,
Tennis: tennis has a long history on the island.,
Sailing: Island has competed at the international level,
Cycling: for a long period of time Rhodes had the only cycling track in Greece, producing Olympics-level competitors.,
Rhodes competes in the bi-annual Island Games, which it hosted in 2007.,
Local specialities of Rhodes and Dodecanese include:
Takakia or Mantinades (dessert),
In popular culture:
In ancient times there was a Roman saying: "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!"--"Rhodes is here, here perform your jump", an admonition to prove one's idle boasts by deed rather than talk. It comes from an Aesop's fable called "The Boastful Athlete" and was cited by Hegel and Marx.,
Lawrence Durrell's Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953) is the author's semi-autobiographical account of his stay on the island after World War II.,
Many of the outdoor scenes of The Guns of Navarone (starring Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn) and Escape to Athena (starring Roger Moore and Telly Savalas) were filmed on the island of Rhodes.,
In the PlayStation 2 game God of War II, both Rhodes and the Colossus of Rhodes are featured at the start of the game, offering a mythological theory as to how the Colossus was destroyed. The Colossus of Rhodes is a common feature in many games, for example, it can be built as a "Wonder" in Rise of Nations and the Civilization series of games.,
In one book of the Roman Mysteries series of children's novels by Caroline Lawrence, the main characters visit Rhodes to stop the trading of slave labour.,
Agesander, (1st century BC) sculptor,
Chares of Lindos (3rd century BC), sculptor,
Cleobulus of Lindos (6th century BC), philosopher and one of the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece,
Diagoras of Rhodes (5th century BC), boxer, multiple Olympic winner,
Dinocrates (4th century BC), architect and technical adviser for Alexander the Great,
Leonidas, (2nd century BC) athlete,
Memnon (380-333 BC), commander of mercenary army,
Timocreon, (5th century BC) poet,
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece
Twin towns -- Sister cities:
Rhodes is twinned with: