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Rhodes Town, Greece

The beautiful town of Rhodes, the capital town of the island and of the Dodecanese Prefecture, is situated at the northern end of the island. It is not only the wonderful monuments, the nice beaches and the excellent buildings that attract the visitor; everything here is very well organized, ready to make the life of all visitors, no matter their age or tastes, easier and more comfortable. With the medieval town in front of you, you will have the feeling that you live a medieval legend and you stay in a living museum. But, you will have good time also in the modern town with the recent monuments, the atmosphere of a past that is respected and has become part of the present, and with the lively everyday life. The town of Rhodes counts some 55.000 permanent residents and is the economic, administrative, tourist and communication center of the whole island.

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The town has all the amenities and services of a modern town. Several health services (doctors, pharmacies) and a hospital are available in case of emergency.

It has a very good market, where you will find any kind of goods and stores with nice souvenirs which will remind you the “most beautiful town in the world”, as it is advertised by its fans.

Special Events and Cultural Activities

The Carnival Feast in the medieval town

The last few years the Municipality of the town of Rhodes organises the annual Carnival Feast, aiming at attracting people to the island not only in summer, but also during the other seasons of the year. The feast has been proved quite successful and more visitors attending it are being added up every year.

The Feast takes place on the last Sunday of Carnival, the previous day of Shrove Monday and gives to the young people of the island, but also to the rest of the locals and the visitors, the chance to enjoy a crazy fun and amusement, just before the long Easter’s Lent.

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An organizing committee accepts participations to the feast from cultural associations, dance schools, schools and any other club or group. After the participations have been received, the organizing committee invites cultural groups, orchestras and other people involved in music and dance from Athens and other areas of Greece. It goes without saying that the local orchestras of modern or folk music and the folk dance groups, along with well – known musicians and singers, take part to the feast.

The people attending the feast are disguised and dressed in fancy dresses and the fun is at the peak. In all the squares of the town, but mainly in Jewish Martyrs’ square and Aristotelous square, people sing and dance, with live music played by musicians who present their programs in temporary platforms, purposely made. It is at the same platforms that the dance groups present their program, comprising folk dances from the Dodecanese, but also from the rest of Greece. The organising committee offers drinks and refreshment to the public and the feast last until late in the night; sometimes nobody goes to bed before the next morning. Being very well organized, the feast attracts many people every year.
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One of the most important and well known feasts in Ancient Greece was the Anthesteria, the feast of the Flowers, celebrated in the beginning of spring. The last few years, the Municipality of the town of Rhodes has tried to revive the feast and organizes the modern Anthesteria, a feast of flowers taking place in spring, during the last week of May. The Municipality aims at sensitizing the people, both the locals and the visitors, on the problem of the effects of human action on the natural environment. Every year the feast gives the ecological message of respect and protection of nature. The feast comprises flowers’ exhibition, artistic activities as painting and photography exhibitions about flowers and nature, as well as music concerts. All events focalize on environment and protection of nature.

The main event is the floats’ parade, which in fact are cars decorated with flowers which, accompanied by people on foot, march along the parade space of the town, from Mandraki up to the Prefecture’s building. The decoration of the cars is thematic, that is to say there is always a hint to the environment, to a local or national event, and the same stands for the walkers who are dressed in uniforms also relative to a theme. Numerous local cultural associations, but also associations of the communities of Rhodians living abroad, along with schools and groups, take part to the event. The participants pay the cost of their performance, but the organization of the event is the duty of the Municipality, who contributes the orchestras and the folk bands who operate under the Municipality’s supervision. The whole event ends up to a great feast, where everybody can participate.
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Sound and Light

The spectacle “Sound and Light” that takes place at the Municipal Park of the town of Rhodes, every year since 1961, is in fact a performance, like theatrical play, but without actors. Within natural scenery, the performers combine the theatrical action with architecture and speech, all of them accompanied by music and lights.

This kind of performing art uses the technology of radio which is well linked with light and the architectural framework. Whoever attends the spectacle for the first time thinks that the sounds come from the monuments in which the event takes place. It is told that the stones and the monuments have once heard a story, assimilated it and now, in their turn, they narrate it to the audience. During the event the spectator has the feeling that the environment around does not exist. Through fantasy and emotional alterations triggered by the spectacle, the spectator “feels” the history of the place and “reads” it anew, as within a living book. The theme, usually taken in history or mythology of the place, is not the most important part, not even the kind of narration, which may be prose or poetry. What matters is the magic result the audience experience and the esthetic enjoyment.

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The spectacle is suitable both for children and adults. For the first time it had been presented in 1959 in Athens, at Pnyx. Later on it was extended in Corfu and Rhodes. Today, only the event of Rhodes keeps on operating every year and it has always great success, which is reasonable if one takes into account the rich history, natural environment and tourist development of the island.

The usual “scenario” of the performance is the battle of the defenders of Rhodes against the Ottoman army of Suleiman the Great, who in this period of time was still invincible. Following the story, the light focuses to different places, to Ippoton Street, to the Palace of the Great Master, or to the camp of the sultan. Well known actors recite the texts, which are taken in original historic sources, while today computers with purposely built software are also used for the performance. The duration of the spectacle varies according to the language, from 45 minutes up to one hour.
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