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Rhodes ( , Ródos, ; ; Rodos; Ladino: Rodi or Rodes) is a Greekmarker island approximately southwest of Turkeymarker in eastern Aegean Seamarker. 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 homonymousmarker capital city of the island.

Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodesmarker, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. 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 Rhodesmarker 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 Airportmarker, 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.

In terms of flora and fauna, Rhodes is closer to Asia Minormarker than to the rest of Greece. The interior of the island is mountainous, sparsely inhabited and covered with forests of pine (Pinus brutia) and cypress (Cupressus sempervirens). The island is home to the Rhodian deer. In Petaludesmarker 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 fruit, wine grapes, vegetables, olives and other crops are grown.

Outside of the city of Rhodes, the island is dotted with small villages and beach resorts, among them Falirakimarker, Lindosmarker, Kremasti, Haraki, Pefkos, Archangelos, Afantoumarker, Koskinou, Embona (Attavyros), Paradisi, and Triantamarker (Ialysos). Tourism is the island's primary source of income.


Rhodes has experienced severe earthquakes. Notable are the 226 BC earthquakemarker that destroyed the Colossus of Rhodesmarker; 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 magnitude earthquake 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.


Ancient times

The island was inhabited in the Neolithic period, although little remains of this culture. In the 16th century BC the Minoans came to Rhodes, and later Greek mythology recalled a Rhodian race they called the Telchines, and associated Rhodes with Danaus; it was sometimes nicknamed Telchinis. 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 the Dorians. It was the Dorians who later built the three important cities of Lindos, Ialyssosmarker and Kameirosmarker, which together with Kosmarker, Cnidusmarker and Halicarnassus (on the mainland) made up the so-called Dorian Hexapolis.

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 Egyptmarker where he built the city of Heliopolismarker and he taught the Egyptians the science of astrology.

Invasions by the Persians eventually overran the island, but after their defeat by the forces from Athensmarker 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 had decided to go her own way.

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 Persians.

The Acropolis of Lindos

Following the death of Alexander his generals vied for control of the kingdom. Three of them, Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antigonus, succeeded in dividing the kingdom among themselves. Rhodes formed strong commercial and cultural ties with the Ptolemies in Alexandriamarker, and together they formed the Rhodo-Egyptian alliance which controlled trade throughout the Aegean in the 3rd century BC. 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 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 a rich, dramatic style that can be characterized as "Hellenistic Baroque".

In 305 BC, Antigonus had his son, Demetrius besiege Rhodes in an attempt to break its alliance with Egypt. Demetrius created huge siege engines including a battering ram and a siege tower named Helepolis 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. The Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to erect a statue of their sun god, Helios, the statue now known as Colossus of Rhodesmarker.

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 and the author of the 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 1st century AD, the Emperor Tiberius spent a brief term of exile on Rhodes. Saint Paul brought Christianity to the island.(cf. Acts 21) Rhodes 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.

Rhodes 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 Manzikertmarker. Rhodes was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus during the First Crusade.

Medieval period

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 Egyptmarker in 1444, and of Mehmed II in 1480. Ultimately, however, Rhodes fell to the large army of Suleiman the Magnificent in 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 Empire for nearly four centuries.

Modern history

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 Turkeymarker.

Due to the Treaty of Lausanne the island—together with the Dodecanese—was 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 Campaign.

On July 19, 1944 the island’s 1700 Jewish inhabitants were rounded up by the Gestapomarker and sent to extermination camps, of whom some 160 survived. The Turkishmarker Consul Selahattin Ülkümen 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.

In 1949, Rhodes was the venue for negotiations between Israelmarker and Egyptmarker, Jordanmarker, Lebanonmarker, and Syriamarker, concluding with the 1949 Armistice Agreements.


Palace of the (Prince) Grand Master—Rhodes

In ancient times, Rhodes was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World—the Colossus of Rhodesmarker. 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 Ialysosmarker, ancient Kamirosmarker, 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 and St. Catherine Hospice.


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 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 Holocaust.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 basis.


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.

Administrative divisions

The island is divided into 10 municipalities:
Municipality Population Seat Municipal Departments Postal code
Afantoumarker 6,712 Afantou Afantou, Kolympia, Archipoli 851 03
Archangelos 7,779 Archangelos Archangelos, Malona, Charaki, Massari 851 02
Attavyrosmarker 2,635 Empona Empona, Kritinia, Monolithos, Sianna, Ag. Isidoros 851 09
Ialysosmarker 10,107 Ialysos Ialysos 851 01
Kallitheamarker 10,251 Kalythies Kalythies, Koskinou, Faliraki, Psinthos 851 05
Kameirosmarker 5,145 Soronimarker Soroni, Apollona, Dimylia, Kalavarda, Platania, Salakos, Fanes 851 06
Lindosmarker 3,633 Lindos Lindos, Kalathos, Laerma, Lardos, Pylona 851 07
Petaloudesmarker 12,133 Kremasti Kremasti, Pastida, Maritsa, Paradeisi, Theologos, Damatria 851 04
Rhodesmarker 54,000 Rhodes City Rhodes City 851 00
South Rhodesmarker 4,313 Gennadimarker Gennadi, Apolakkia, Arnitha, Askleipio, Vati, Istrios, Kattavia, Lachania, Mesanagros, Profylia 851 09

Towns and villages

Rhodes has 43 towns and villages:
Town/Village Population Municipality Town/Village Population Municipality
Rhodes Citymarker 80,000 Rhodes Gennadimarker 655 South Rhodesmarker
Ialysosmarker 15,000 Ialysos Salakosmarker 607 Kamirosmarker
Afantoumarker 5,933 Afantou Kritinia 606 Attavyrosmarker
Kalythies 5,861 Kallithea Kattaviamarker 590 South Rhodesmarker
Archangelos 5,752 Archangelos Dimylia 515 Kamirosmarker
Kremasti 4,585 Petaloudesmarker Kalavarda 512 Kamirosmarker
Koskinou 3,224 Kallithea Pylona 504 Lindosmarker
Paradeisi 2,646 Petaloudesmarker Istrios 485 South Rhodesmarker
Pastida 1,803 Petaloudesmarker Damatria 477 Petaloudesmarker
Maritsa 1,766 Petaloudesmarker Laerma 446 South Rhodesmarker
Empona 1,451 Attavyrosmarker Apolakkia 415 South Rhodesmarker
Soronimarker 1,236 Kamirosmarker Plataniamarker 383 Kamirosmarker
Lardos 1,212 Lindosmarker Kalathos 380 Lindosmarker
Psinthos 1,166 Kallithea Lachania 341 South Rhodesmarker
Malona 1,096 Archangelos Monolithos 334 Attavyrosmarker
Lindosmarker 1,091 Lindosmarker Mesanagros 330 South Rhodesmarker
Apollona 997 Kamirosmarker Profilia 326 South Rhodesmarker
Massari 931 Archangelos Arnitha 310 South Rhodesmarker
Fanes 895 Kamirosmarker Sianna 244 Attavyrosmarker
Theologos 856 Petaloudesmarker Vati 188 South Rhodesmarker
Archipoli 779 Afantoumarker Agios Isidoros Attavyrosmarker
Askleipio 673 South Rhodesmarker


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.


Road network

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 with Diagoras Airportmarker and Kamirosmarker.
  • Rhodes-Lindos National Avenue (Greek National Road 95): Four and two lane, runs mainly inland north to south and connects Rhodes City with Lindos.
  • Rhodes-Kallithea Province Avenue: Two lane, 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.

Future roads:
  • 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 August 2007.
  • Plans also exist for a new four lane express road connecting Rhodes Town with Diagoras Airportmarker that will reduce congestion on the coastal west avenue
  • 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
  • RODA: Rhodes Citymarker 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 Airportmarker, 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 Airportmarker: public airport, south west of Rhodes Citymarker, 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 races.
  • 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, island hopping).


Rhodes has five ports, three of them in Rhodes Citymarker, one in the west coast near Kamirosmarker and one in east coast near Lardos.
  • Central Port: located in the city of Rhodes serves domestic and international traffic.
  • 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 Halkimarker
  • 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 Rhodes.
  • 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 level.
  • Tennis: tennis has a long history on the island.
  • Sailing: widely developed, offers competition 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.

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.

  • 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.

Notable people

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities


Image:Rho west coast.jpg|West coast and the town of Ialysos from Filerimos hillImage:Rho mt filerimos.jpg|Filerimos hillImage:Filerimos.JPG|FilerimosImage:Archangelos (Rhodos) Glockenturm.JPG|The Aghios Archangelos Church in the city of Archangelos.Image:Sianna.jpg|Church in Sianna village, on the west coastImage:Tsampikabeach.JPG|Tsampika beach on the east coastImage:Kallithea1.JPG|Kallithea thermes (spa)Image:Lindos32.JPG.JPG|Lindos—AkropolisImage:Lindos1.JPG|Small 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 Rhodes


  1. As of 2001
  2. "Rhodes, Greece, 1481" Jan Kozak Collection: KZ13, The Earthquake Engineering Online Archive
  3. Ambraseys, N. N. and Adams, R. D. (1998) "The Rhodes earthquake of 26 June 1926" Journal of Seismology 2(3): pp. 267–292.
  4. "Earthquake's aftermath" Discover Rhodes. Retrieved 16 July 2008.
  5. The Historical Library of Diodorus Siculus, Book V, ch.III.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.).
  8. History of Jewish Greece
  9. The Virtual Jewish History Tour - Greece
  10. Municipal Association
  11. International Island Games Association website. Retrieved 27Jun08.

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