Infobox Greek Isles
name = Rhodes
native_name = Ρόδος
skyline = Maltan knights castle in rh.jpg
sky_caption = Palace of the Grand Master in the city of Rhodes

coordinates = coord|36|10|N|28|00|E|region:GR-81_type:isle_scale:500000|display=inline,title
chain = Dodecanese
isles =
area = 1400.684
highest_mount = Mount Attavyros
elevation = 1216
periph = South Aegean
prefect = Dodecanese
capital = Rhodes, Greece
population = 117007
pop_as_of = 2001
postal = 85x xx
telephone = 2241-2247
license = ΡΟ
website = [http://www.rhodes.gr Rhodes City] [http://www.nad.gr Dodecanese Prefecture]

Rhodes ( _el. Ρόδος, "Ródos", IPA2|ˈɾo̞ðo̞s; _it. Rodi; _ot. ردوس "Rodos"; Ladino: "Rodi" or "Rodes") is a Greek island approximately convert|18|km|mi|0 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 [As of 2001] of which 53,709 resided in the capital city of the island.

Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, 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.


The island of Rhodes is shaped like a spearhead, convert|79.7|km|mi|1|abbr=on long and convert|38|km|mi|0|abbr=on wide, with a total area of approximately convert|1400|km2|sqmi|0 and a coastline of approximately convert|220|km|mi|0|abbr=on. 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 convert|14|km|mi|0|abbr=on 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 Minor 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 Petaludes Valley (Greek for "Valley of the Butterflies"), large numbers of tiger moths gather during the summer months. Mount Attavyros, at convert|1216|m|ft|0, 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 Faliraki, Lindos, Kremasti, Haraki, Pefkos, Archangelos, Afantou, Koskinou, Embona (Attavyros), Paradisi, and Trianta (Ialysos). Tourism is the island's primary source of income.


Rhodes has experienced devastating 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 [ [http://nisee.berkeley.edu/elibrary/Image/KZ13 "Rhodes, Greece, 1481"] Jan Kozak Collection: KZ13, The Earthquake Engineering Online Archive] ; and the one on 26 June 1926. [Ambraseys, N. N. and Adams, R. D. (1998) "The Rhodes earthquake of 26 June 1926" "Journal of Seismology" 2(3): pp. 267-292] 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. [ [http://www.discover-rhodes.com/news/earthquakes-aftermath/ "Earthquake's aftermath"] Discover Rhodes, accessed 16 July 2008]


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, Ialyssos and Kameiros, which together with Kos, Cnidus 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 Egypt where he built the city of Heliopolis and he taught the Egyptians the science of astrology. [The Historical Library of Diodorus Siculus, [http://books.google.com/books?id=agd-eLVNRMMC&printsec=titlepage#PPA336,M1 Book V, ch.III] .]

Invasions by the Persians eventually overran the island, but after their defeat by the 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 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.

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 Alexandria, 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 convert|180|ft|m|0|abbr=on|adj=on battering ram and a siege tower named Helepolis that weighed convert|360000|lb|kg|0. 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 Rhodes.

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, and Saint Paul brought Christianity to the island. Rhodes reached her zenith in the third century, and was then by common consent the most civilized and beautiful city in Hellas. 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. Although part of Byzantium for the next thousand years, Rhodes was nevertheless repeatedly attacked by various forces. It was first occupied by Muslim forces of Muawiyah I in 672. Much later, Rhodes was retrieved for 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 Egypt 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

The Rhodes blood libel in February 1840 was one of many false accusations against the Jews of Europe, in which the Jews of Rhodes were accused of ritually murdering a Christian boy.

In 1912, Rhodes was seized from the Turks by the Italians, and in 1948, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese, was united with Greece. It thus bypassed many of the events associated with the "exchange of the minorities" between Greece and Turkey.

In 1949, Israel signed an armistice agreement with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria on the island of Rhodes.


In ancient times, Rhodes was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Colossus of Rhodes. 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 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 Catholic [http://www.catholicchurchrhodes.com] minority on the island, many of whom are descendants of Italians who remained after the end of the Italian occupation. Unlike many other Greek islands, Rhodes has a Muslim minority, a remnant from Ottoman Turkish times.

The Ladino-speaking Jewish community was mostly wiped out in the Holocaust. The main synagogue, Kahal Shalom, the oldest synagogue in Greece, is still standing in the Jewish quarter of the Old Town of Rhodes. It has been renovated with the help of foreign donors but there are very few Jews who live year-round in Rhodes today, and services are not held on a regular basis. [ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Greece.html The Virtual Jewish History Tour - Greece ] ]


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, [ [http://www.tedkd.gr Municipal Association] ] is responsible for joining efforts and actions for the whole island as well as prefecture.

Administrative divisions

The island is divided into 10 municipalities:

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.


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 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.
*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 convert|36|km|mi|0|abbr=on 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 Airport 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 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, convert|16|km|mi|0|abbr=on 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 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 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 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: convert|30|km|mi|0|abbr=on 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 PAO Diagoras, 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. [ [http://www.islandgames.net/cms/games.html International Island Games Association website] accessed 27Jun08]

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.

*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.

*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.

*In Rise of Nations, the Colossus of Rhodes can be built as a 'Wonder'.

Notable people

*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 winer
*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

ister cities

*Flagicon|Australia Perth, Western Australia, Australia

ee also

*Colossus of Rhodes



External links

* [http://www.rodos.gr City of Rhodes official website]

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