THE HISTORIC PAST OF RHODES ISLAND
The island of Rhodes is located 250 n. miles southeast of Athens, the capital of Greece. It is also known as the island of Apollo, the God of the Sun, born (according to Pindar) from Apollo and Roda.
In ancient times, it was know under many different names, including Ethrea, Ofiousa, Asteria, Kolymbia and Telchinis. Other support that the name came from the daughter of Poseidon, while others believe that it came from the synonymous flower Rose.
It was first inhabited during the prehistoric days and took part in the Trojan Wars. The first inhabitants were the mythical Telchines (hence its old name), then by the Minoans, Achaians and later by the Dorians.
The later founded the three major cities; Rhodes, Ialysos and Lindos and Kamiros. Rhodes flourished and established many colonies in Asia Minor and Southern Italy. In the 5th and 4th centuries b.c., the island had 5 major ports and Rhodes was one of the most important merchant marine powers and established the Rules of Maritime Law.
The city of Rhodes was founded in 408 b.c. and in the year 290 b.c. the famous Colossus of Rhodes (the symbol the strength and wealth of the Rhodian people) was built. In 164 b.c. it allied with Rome and flourished even more. In 70 b.c. it came under Roman rule and later under Byzantine rule. During the Byzantine empire, many attempted to concur Rhodes, including the Persians (Iran), the Arabs, Genoans, Venetians, several pirates and finally the Nights of Saint John of Jerusalem.
In the year 515 a.d. it was destroyed by a powerful earthquake and in 1309 it was concurred by the Nights of Saint John. They built large Castles and fortresses to protect the city from the invaders. They also built many monuments and public buildings and works that are still being used today. They stayed in Rhodes for 2 centuries.
In 1522 Rhodes fell under the Ottoman Empire. These were the darkest days in its more than 2,000 years of history. Rhodes remained under Turkish occupation until 1912 when it was taken over by the Italians. The Italians remained in Rhodes until 1948, when Rhodes and the rest of the Dodecanese island complex was finally reunited with Greece!
RHODES ISLAND TODAY
Today, Rhodes is inhabited by more than 120,000 people and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations amongst the Europeans. The climate is very mild and the Sun is shining for more than 325 days per year!
There are so many beautiful places to visit while in Rhodes! Many historical sites, including the Acropolis of Rhodes, the Castle of the Nights, the Mandraki Harbor (it is believed that the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World stood there), the museum in the Old City, the Temple of Apollo and if you head southwards, you can visit the Acropolis of Lindos, and Kamiros.
Lindos town, which is located 50 km southeast of Rhodes town, has a population of 1,000 people. It is one of the most interesting archaeological sites in Rhodes and it attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
It is very well known for its Acropolis of Lindos and it is the birthplace of Charis the Lindios, architect of Colossus of Rhodes. Just like the Old Town of Rhodes, it was declared as a monument for preservation and therefore it has managed to maintain its old tradition and style.
On the sandy beach of Lindos bay, you can relax and enjoy the sun all day long or if you are the active type of person there are plenty of water sports, from water skiing, to banana riding, jet skiing and paragliding. In the evening, you you can sample all the Greek specialties offered by the numerous tavernas that are lined up along the beach front.
Getting to Lindos is easy and very inexpensive, no matter where you are staying. Taxis and busses are very reasonable too. The buses that criss-cross the entire island, are very frequent. You can even get the boat from Mandraki Harbor or Faliraki if you prefer a more romantic type of trip.
Those of you that like total independence, you can always rent a car and have the opportunity to explore the entire island of Rhodes. There are some beautiful and secluded beaches that you will definitely fall in love with!!.
Other places of interest include the Seven Springs, a nice and refreshing area under the shade of the century old plane trees, where many people go to enjoy their pick-nick.
The nature lovers should visit the Valley of the Butterflies, e very rear valley with a lot of trees, water ponds, narrow paths and small wooden bridges! The butterflies go to this valley to multiply, every year on June the 15th and they always go away on July 15th. They sleep all day long in the cool tree shade and it is very important that you do not disturb them during their sleep or they may die.
Finally, do not forget to visit the Old City, where you will find many outdoor cafes, bars, Jewelry shops, and every kind of tourist shop. You will need to spend at least 3 hours in order to visit the Old Town!
There is so much to visit and see on this magnificent island. For this reason, why not to come here again!