Rhodes ( , Ródos, ;
; Rodos; Ladino:
Rodi or Rodes) is a Greek island approximately southwest of
Turkey in eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and
population, with a population of 117,007 of which 53,709 resided in
the homonymous capital city of
Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for
the Colossus of
Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the
The medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has
been declared a World Heritage
. Today Rhodes is a tourist destination.
Topography of Rhodes
The island of Rhodes is shaped like a spearhead
, long and wide, with a total area of
approximately and a coastline of approximately . 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 to the southwest of the city in Paradisi.
The road network radiates
from the city along the east and west coasts.
of flora and fauna, Rhodes is closer to Asia Minor than to the rest of Greece.
The interior of
the island is mountainous, sparsely inhabited and covered with
forests of pine
). The island is home to the Rhodian deer
. In Petaludes Valley (Greek for "Valley of the Butterflies"),
large numbers of tiger moth gather
during the summer months.
Mount Attavyros, at , is the
island's highest point of elevation. While the shores are rocky,
the island has arable strips of land where citrus
vegetables, olives and other crops are grown.
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
Tourism is the island's primary source of
Rhodes has experienced severe earthquakes
. Notable are the 226 BC
earthquake that destroyed the Colossus of Rhodes; the one on 3 May 1481 which destroyed much of the
city of Rhodes; and the one on 26 June 1926.
July 15, 2008,
Rhodes was struck by a 6.3
causing minor damage to a few old
buildings. One woman lost her life when she fell down the stairs,
while trying to flee her home.
The island was inhabited in the Neolithic
period, although little remains of this culture. In the 16th
century BC the Minoans
Rhodes, and later Greek mythology recalled a Rhodian race they
called the Telchines
, and associated
Rhodes with Danaus
; it was sometimes
. In the 15th century BC the Achaeans
invaded. It was, however, in the 11th
century BC that the island started to flourish, with the coming of
. It was the Dorians who later built the
three important cities of Lindos, Ialyssos and Kameiros, which together with Kos, Cnidus and Halicarnassus (on the mainland) made up the
'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
native to the island. Diodorus Siculus added that Actis, one of the sons of Helios and Rhode travelled
to Egypt where he
built the city of Heliopolis and he taught the Egyptians the science of astrology.
by the Persians eventually overran the island, but after their
defeat by the forces from Athens in 478 BC,
the cities joined the Athenian
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 had decided to go her
In 408 BC the cities united to form one territory, and built a new
capital on the northern end of the island, the city of Rhodes: its
regular plan was superintended by the Athenian architect Hippodamus
. However 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 fell
to the Persians 340 BC. But their rule was also short and to the
great relief of its citizens, Rhodes became a part of the growing
empire of Alexander III of Macedon
in 332 BC after he defeated the
The Acropolis of Lindos
Following the death of Alexander his generals vied for control of
the kingdom. Three of them, Ptolemy
, and Antigonus
, succeeded in dividing
the kingdom among themselves. Rhodes formed strong commercial and cultural
ties with the Ptolemies in Alexandria, and together they formed the Rhodo-Egyptian
alliance which controlled trade throughout the Aegean in the 3rd
The city developed into a maritime, commercial
and cultural center and its coins were in circulation almost
everywhere in the Mediterranean. Its famous schools of philosophy,
science, literature and rhetoric, shared masters with Alexandria:
the Athenian rhetorician Aeschines
formed a school at Rhodes; Apollonius of Rhodes
; the observations
and works of the astronomers Hipparchus
, the rhetorician Dionysios Trax
. Its school of sculptors
developed a rich, dramatic style that can be characterized as
In 305 BC, Antigonus had his son, Demetrius
besiege Rhodes in an
attempt to break its alliance with Egypt. Demetrius created huge
including a battering ram
and a siege tower
that weighed . 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.
Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to erect a statue of
their sun god, Helios, the statue now known
as Colossus of
In 164 BC, Rhodes signed a treaty with Rome
, and became an educational center for
Roman noble families, and was especially noted for its teachers of
rhetoric, such as Hermagoras
author of the Rhetorica ad
. 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 1st century AD, the Emperor Tiberius
spent a brief term of exile on Rhodes. Saint Paul
brought Christianity to the
reached her zenith in the third century. In 395, the long Byzantine Empire
period began for Rhodes,
when the Roman Empire
was split and the
eastern half gradually became a Greek empire.
was occupied by the Muslim forces of Muawiyah I in 672, and was again occupied
circa 1090 by the Seljuk Turks, not long after the Battle of
Rhodes was recaptured by the Byzantine
Emperor Alexius I Comnenus
during the First Crusade
In 1309 the Byzantine era came to an end when the island was
occupied by forces of the Knights
. 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.
strong walls which the Knights had built withstood the attacks of
the Sultan of Egypt in 1444, and
of Mehmed II in 1480.
however, Rhodes fell to the large army of Suleiman the Magnificent
December 1522, long after the rest of the Byzantine empire had been
lost. The few surviving Knights were permitted to retire to the
Kingdom of Sicily
. The Knights
would later move their base of operations to Malta. The island was
thereafter a possession of the Ottoman
for nearly four centuries.
In February 1840, the Jews of Rhodes were falsely accused of
ritually murdering a Christian boy in what became known as the
Rhodes blood libel
In 1912, Italy seized Rhodes from the Turks. The island thus
bypassed many of the events associated with the "exchange of the
minorities" between Greece and Turkey.
Due to the Treaty of Lausanne
island—together with the Dodecanese
officially assigned to Italy, and became the core of the possession
of the Isole Italiane dell'Egeo.
Following the Italian
Armistice of September 8th,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 this resulted in the British failure in
the subsequent Dodecanese
19, 1944 the island’s 1700 Jewish inhabitants
were rounded up by the Gestapo and sent to extermination camps, of whom some 160
survived. The Turkish Consul
succeeded, at considerable risk to himself and his family, in
saving 42 Jews who had Turkish citizenship or were family members
of Turkish citizens.
In 1948, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese
, Rhodes was united with Greece.
Rhodes was the venue for negotiations between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, concluding
with the 1949 Armistice
ancient times, Rhodes was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the
World—the Colossus of
Palace of the (Prince) Grand
This giant bronze statue once stood in the
harbour. It was completed in 280 BC but was 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, the
Temple of Apollo, ancient Ialysos, ancient Kamiros, the Governor's Palace, Rhodes Old Town (walled medieval city), the
the Grand Masters, Kahal
Shalom Synagogue in the Jewish
Quarter, the Archeological Museum, the
ruins of the castle of
Monolithos, the castle of
Kritinia and St. Catherine
The predominant religion is Greek
. 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
The Jewish community of Rhodes goes back to the 1st century CE. In
1480, the Jews actively defended the walled city against the Turks.
At its peak in the 1920s, the Jewish community was one-third of the
total population. The community was mostly wiped out in the
.Kahal Shalom, established in
1557, is the oldest synagogue in Greece. It is still standing in
the Jewish quarter of the Old Town of Rhodes. It has been renovated
with the help of foreign donors but very few Jews live year-round
in Rhodes today, and services are not held on a regular
Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese
Prefecture and the most populated island of the South Aegean
Region. The local association of
municipalities and communities of the Dodecanese, TEDKD, is
responsible for the administration of the island and the prefecture
as a whole.
The island is divided into 10 municipalities:
||Afantou, Kolympia, Archipoli
||Archangelos, Malona, Charaki, Massari
||Empona, Kritinia, Monolithos, Sianna, Ag. Isidoros
||Kalythies, Koskinou, Faliraki, Psinthos
||Soroni, Apollona, Dimylia, Kalavarda, Platania, Salakos,
||Lindos, Kalathos, Laerma, Lardos, Pylona
||Kremasti, Pastida, Maritsa, Paradeisi, Theologos, Damatria
||Gennadi, Apolakkia, Arnitha, Askleipio, Vati, Istrios,
Kattavia, Lachania, Mesanagros, Profylia
Towns and villages
Rhodes has 43 towns and villages:
The economy is tourist-oriented. The most developed sector is
service. Small industries process imported raw materials for local
retail. Other industry includes agricultural goods production,
stockbreeding, fishery and winery.
The road network of the island is mostly modern and paved. There
are four major arteries:
- Rhodes-Kamiros Province Avenue: Two lane,
runs through the west coast north to south and connects Rhodes City
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
- Rhodes-Kallithea Province Avenue: Two lane, runs through the
east coast north to south and connects Rhodes City with Faliraki
- Tsairi-Airport National Avenue: Four and two lane, runs inland
east to west and connects the east coast with the west and the
- Further widening of E-95 from Faliraki to Lindos. This is to be
four lane with jersey barrier in the
middle,about in length, with the first part scheduled to start in
also exist for a new four lane express road connecting Rhodes Town
Airport that will reduce congestion on the coastal west
- The first phase of construction of the Rhodes City ringway was
begun a few years ago, but progress has been slow.
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
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 (yellow-orange colored).
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.
- Diagoras International
Airport: public airport, south west of Rhodes City, third in international passenger volume and fourth
in total passenger volume in Greece.
- Maritsa Air Force Airfield: closed to public, near Maritsa
village, used to be the public airport of the island until 1977.
Nowadays serves the Greek Army and is sometimes used for car
- Kalathos Air Strip: served as a landing strip during World War
II, near the village of Kalathos. Inoperative.
Two pilot schools offer aviation services (small plane rental,
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 domestic and
- Kolona Port: opposite the central port, serves intra-Dodecanese
traffic and large yachts.
- Akandia Port: the new port of the island next to the central
port, being built since 1960s, for domestic and international
traffic. At the moment serves cruise ships on peak days.
- Kamiros Skala Dock: 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., both Rhodes City based teams,
compete professionally at the national 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 has joined the Greek A1 League. The local league includes two
divisions with 14 teams. Two indoor courts exist in Rhodes City,
and one each in Ialysos and Kremasti. Several other are planned for
Rhodes City Pales De Sports, Faliraki, Afantou, and South
- Volleyball: local teams only.
- Water Polo: mostly amateur based. There is no single indoor
pool on the island.
- Rugby: introduced in 2007. Teams compete at the national
- Tennis: tennis has a long history on the island.
- Sailing: widely developed, offers competition at the
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 build as a "Wonder" in Rise of
Nations and the Civilization series of games.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Image:Rho west coast.jpg|West coast and the town of Ialysos from
Filerimos hillImage:Rho mt filerimos.jpg|Filerimos
Glockenturm.JPG|The Aghios Archangelos
Church in the city
in Sianna village, on the west
coastImage:Tsampikabeach.JPG|Tsampika beach on the east
church in Lindos townImage:gardensrhodes.JPG|Rhodes town—Old Town
gardensImage:stadiumrhodes.JPG|Rhodes town—ancient Olympic
stadiumImage:bazilikarhodes.JPG|Romanic basilica in Old Town of
- As of 2001
- "Rhodes, Greece, 1481" Jan Kozak Collection: KZ13, The
Earthquake Engineering Online Archive
- Ambraseys, N. N. and Adams, R. D. (1998) "The Rhodes earthquake
of 26 June 1926" Journal of Seismology 2(3): pp.
- "Earthquake's aftermath" Discover Rhodes.
Retrieved 16 July 2008.
- The Historical Library of Diodorus Siculus, Book V, ch.III.
- Brownworth, Lars (2009) Lost to the West: The Forgotten
Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization, Crown
Publishers, ISBN 978-0307407955: ". . . the Muslims captured
Ephesus in 1090 and spread out to the Greek islands. Chios, Rhodes,
and Lesbos fell in quick succession." p. 233.
- See Angel, Marc. The Jews of Rhodes: The History of a
Sephardic Community. Sepher-Hermon Press Inc. and The Union of
Sephardic Congregations. New York: 1978 (1st ed.), 1980 (2nd ed.),
1998 (3rd ed.).
- History of Jewish Greece
- The Virtual Jewish History Tour - Greece
- International Island Games Association website.