The Gem of the Dodecanese: Rhodes (or Rodos)
The largest of the Dodecanese, Rhodes (or Rodos) has become an important regional centre, thanks to its location, climate, and natural attractions.
The Isle of Sun: A Living History
It is known as the Isle of the Sun. The capital, also called Rhodes, occupies the northernmost tip of the island all over. There are actually three cities on this site - modern, ancient and mediaeval.
Modern Meets Ancient: Rhodes Cityscape
The modern town has a cosmopolitan character, many late 20th-century buildings and hotels. The ancient town, which was founded in 408 B.C. according to plans by Hippodamos of Milesios (the first town planner), started from Monte Smith hill where the acropolis stood and extended as far as what is now the mediaeval city.
The Enduring Relics: A Stroll through History
All that is left of it today is the ruins of the temples of Zeus, Athena Poliados and Apollo, the Stadium, Gymnasium and the Theatre, which has been restored.
The Old Town: A Timeless Journey
The medieval town (the Old Town) is surrounded by medieval walls with seven gates. If you visit, you may have the chance to admire the Palace of the Grand Master. Take a romantic stroll around the famous Street of the Knights and feel as a Knight or a Princess.
Exploring Mandraki: The Heart of Rhodes
Also visit Mandraki, the ancient harbour, and while walking admire the National Theatre, the Courts, the City Hall and the Governor’s Palace. Rhodes offers a thriving yacht charter industry, with Mandraki as a prominent hub.
Nature’s Grandeur: Rhodes’ Natural Beauty
Rhodes has many natural beauties to offer such as the Seven Springs, the Valley of the Butterflies and Rodini Park, a green valley with running waters, small bridges and many peacocks.
Ancient Cities and Brilliant Views: Lindos, Ialissos, and Kamiros
It is also worth visiting the ancient cities of Lindos and Ialissos as well as Ancient Kamiros. Especially Lindos is a must-see place, as the brilliant white houses and winding lanes make for stunning views in Greece, best experienced through a boat rental journey in Rhodes.
Myths and Legends: The Origin of Rhodes
Pindar mentions in one of his Odes that it was born of the union of Helios the sun god and the nymph Rhoda. In antiquity, it also bore the names Aithraia, Ophiousa and Telchinis. It was first inhabited in the Neolithic era.
Historic Unions and Cultural Flourish
A major milestone in the island's history, which affected the fate of the other Dodecanese as well, was the founding in 700 B.C. of the Dorian Hexapolis, a union of its three cities with Knidos, Halikarnassos and Kos. Its economy and culture continued to flourish until the 3rd century B.C., when it was the predominant power in the Aegean.
The Knights’ Era: A Glimpse into the Past
When, a thousand years later in 1309, it fell into the hands of the Knights of St. John, it became again the centre of power, symbolised by its magnificent mediaeval town and the imposing castle and palace of the Grand Masters. The island's terrain is in large part fertile with a great variety of vegetation; its highest mountain is Atavyros (1,215 m. asl) in the southwest.
The Medieval Cityscape: Collachio and Burgo-Hora
The mediaeval city is still surrounded by the high walls erected by the Knights. It is divided by an inner wall into two unequal parts, the smaller Collachio and the larger Burgo or Hora. Collachio is further split by the Street of the Knights, both of whose sides are lined with the sombre stone façades of the Inns of the Tongues or nationalities that belonged to the order of the Knights Hospitalers of St. John.
Preserving History: The Grand Master’s Palace and Archaeological Museum
At the end of the street stands the palace of the Grand Masters, which today houses a collection of 16th and 17th-century furniture and Roman mosaic floors from Kos. The Hospital of the Knights, another of the town’s most magnificent buildings, has been converted into the Archaeological Museum. Burgo-Hora lies to the south of Collachio; its walls once enclosed the humbler residences, the marketplace, the Synagogue and Jewish quarter, Orthodox and Catholic churches, public buildings and army barracks.
Journey to Idyllic Villages and Ancient Ruins
The island abounds in lovely and interesting places to visit, such as the Valley of the Butterflies; the village of Trianda near the site of ancient Ialyssos (Ialissos) on the top of Filerimos hill, where the 15th-century monastery of the same name also stands, along with the ruined temples of Athena and Zeus Poliea in the ancient acropolis; Kameiros (Kamiros) and the ruins of the Dorian city; Kalithea with its thermal baths; Koskinou, Afandou, Faliraki and Rodini. But above all, don't miss Lindos.
The Majestic Sight of Athena Lindia
The temple of Athena Lindia (4th century B.C.) coming gradually into view as you ascend the stairs is a sight never to be forgotten. This is especially true when you charter a yacht in Rhodes to explore its coastline.