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Rhodes

Overview

No matter to what age group or taste you belong, Rhodes offers a remarkably generous choice of attractions to make sure that you will enjoy every moment at this fascinating holiday destination. This largest of the Dodecanese islands is the perfect combination of the best Old and New which Greece has to offer: A thriving club, cafe and restaurant scene intermingles with magnificent architecture and historical heritage. The island’s capital city is located at its northern tip. The Medieval Town in its centre, designated in 1988 by UNESCO a World Heritage City, is the harmonic creation of different architectures of various historical eras, with the one of the Knights of St. John being the predominant structure. Everybody should visit Rhodes Town, no doubt, but this globally popular destination is also beloved for its scenic villages, such as the magical Lindos. The powdery beaches, the coves, known to very few, and the remnants of an Islamic and Jewish past, give a unique taste of the whole of Mediterranean in a single place.

History

At the crossroads of two major sea routes of the Mediterranean, between the Aegean Sea and the coast of the Middle East, as well as Cyprus and Egypt, Rhodes is the meeting point of Europe, Africa and Asia. Throughout its long history the different people and civilizations who settled on it left their mark in all aspects of its culture: architecture, art, language. The island was inhabited as early as the late Neolithic period (4000 B.C.) In 408 B.C. its three major cities - Ialyssos, Kamiros and Lindos - founded the city of Rhodes. The three centuries that followed were Rhode’s golden age. Its strategic position brought great wealth and made the city one of the leading centres of the ancient Greek world. In this period, Rhodes artists produced excellent work. The most famous of all was the Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, made by the Lyndian sculptor Hares. Its construction took 12 years and was finished in 282 BC. For years, the statue, representing their God Helios (sun), stood at the harbour entrance, until a strong earthquake hit Rhodes about 226 BC. The city was severely damaged, and the Colossus was demolished. The independence of the city came to an end in 164 B.C. when it became a Province of the Roman Empire. During the early Christian period (330-650 A.D.) Rhodes was part of the Byzantine Empire. Then, the Arabs, who appeared for the first time in the Mediterranean in the 7th century, attacked Rhodes and occupied it for sοme decades. In 1309 the island was sold to the Order of the Knights Hospitaliers of Saint John of Jerusalem. During the Knights' era the island had a period of prosperity. In 1522 the Ottoman Turks conquered the city after a second long siege. Italian troops took over the island and the rest of the Dodecanese in 1912 and finally, in 1947, Rhodes was united with Greece.

Must see

Rhodes is blessed with a plethora of unmissable sights. First-rate historical sites of the island include: The Old Town, arguably the most imposing continuously inhabited medieval town on the European continent. The Acropolis of Lindos, filming location of the well-known film The Guns of Navarone, a natural citadel fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Ottomans. The Acropolis of Rhodes, on the western edge of the city, with the Temple of Pythian Apollo, an ancient theatre and a stadium. Ancient Ialysos and ancient Kamiros. The Governor's Palace, built in 1927 by the Italian architect Florestano di Fausto, which resembles the Palace of the Duces in Venice. The Grand Master’s Palace, today serves as the Byzantine Museum. The Archeological Museum which used to be The Hospital of the Knights. The ruins of the castle of Monolithos, the castle of Kritinia, St. Catherine Hospice and Rhodes Footbridge and of course the fascinating Monastery of Panagia Filerimos. Finally, Valley of the Butterflies is a unique place where hundreds of colorful butterflies, from June to September, lay their eggs, offering an experience no one should miss.

Things to do

Rhodes has more than 300 sunshine days per year, which means that sunbathing and swimming off the island’s heavenly beaches is a very good way to spend your time. It is the ideal place not only for those who want to relax but for those looking for an action-packed holiday too. The island is one of the best windsurfing locations in Europe and its strong winds and high rolling waves makes it the perfect spot for freestylers, racers and Kite surfers. Make sure to take advantage of the chance to try the real Mediterranean, Rhodian cuisine which is based on delicacies of the sea, vegetables, salads and high quality local meat. Shopaholics will find many large and small shopping malls and tourist bazaars to satisfy their shopping needs. A visit to the picturesque villages Afandou, Archangelos, Monolithos, Lindos, Siana and Ialissos is mandatory as well. For trekking enthusiasts an excellent way to immerse oneself in the amazing natural beauty of the island is to follow the many breathtaking routes on foot. And finally, while you are on Rhodes do not miss the opportunity for an unforgettable day trip to the nearby beautiful islands of Kastellórizo (or Megisti), the easternmost island in Greece, Hálki, famous for its Theological School, Sými, an island of sponge divers and seamen, and finally, Tilos island.

Beaches and nature

Crystal, refreshing waters, powdery golden sand and wonderful sunny days create unforgettable sea-moments in Rhodes. The beach in front of the hotel Mediterranean in the city of Rhodes, is one of everybody’s favorite spots of the island. If you love surfing and are constantly on the look-out for waves and wind in order to enjoy your favorite sport, Ixia, about 7 km’s from the town is an excellent choice. Kallithea Bay area is the meeting point of trendy swimmers and the local elite. On the other side of the island, Faliraki is crowded mostly with young people from all over the world, and every day over there is a seemingly never- ending party. South of Lindos, on the southeastern coast, St Paul's Bay with its two beaches, a large and a smaller, more quiet one, is a great place for snorkeling. A 500 meter strip of sand connects Rhodes with Prassonisi (Green Island) a small peninsula - windsurfers’ paradise. Apart from beaches Rhodes is also very rich in sites of natural beauty. Among them the Rodini park, with the free peaceful peacocks, the Seven Springs and the Dam of Apollakias, an artificial lake of great environmental value because of the rare birds and fauna inhabiting the area.

Need to know (practical info)

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 is half an hour`s drive from Rhodes Town. Rhodes port is daily connected with Piraeus (the port of Athens) by conventional and high speed boats. In the summer it is also connected with the rest of the Dodecanese islands, as well as with Crete and Cyclades. The roads on Rhodes are quite good. While there, stock up on high-quality Greek jewellery and ceramics .and of course Ouzo. And if you feel lucky pay a visit to the island’s famous and very popular casino.

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