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Greece, Rhodes

Rhodes – Where the Gods Go on Vacation

History and myth merge on the Greek island of Rhodes and constitute its special charm till today. A substantial number of cultural monuments bear witness of an eventful past. The UNESCO added the old town of Rhodes together with the Grand Master's Palace and the mighty city walls to the World Heritage List in 1988. Sun-lovers are drawn to the beautiful beaches of Rhodes. The largest of the Dodecanese islands also enchants visitors with its landscape. While the interior part is marked by high mountains of which some fall away sharply into the Aegean Sea, some green valleys and secluded coves can be discovered between them. On the fourth-largest island of the country visitors can still find and experience the original Greece.

The island's heyday began as early as in ancient times. Due to its location between Asia Minor and Egypt, Rhodes quickly developed into a commercial center with great sea power. Records about the island exist since the second millennium BC. After Mycenaean Greeks reigned the island from the 15th century BC, the Dorians came to Rhodes in the 11th century BC. They later united the cities of Lalyssos, and Kamiros and founded Rhodes. After the reign of the Romans and the Byzantine Empire, the Knights of St. John occupied the island in the 14th century, but they were later expelled by the Ottomans. After Rhodes was taken over by Italy from the Turks in 1912, it was united with Greece together with its neighbouring islands in 1947.

Rhodes is known for being one of the sunniest regions in Europe, it provides 260 to 270 days of sunshine a year. In Greek mythology, the island of Rhodes was owned by the sun god Helios. He is said to have given the island its name by naming it after his wife Rhode. In the honor of Helios, the Rhodians built the Colossus of Rhodes that is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world today. Pine and cypress forests characterize the green island, and its unique architecture forms a harmonious image of different styles. Apart from traces of Venetian, Arabic, Turkish, Byzantine, and cubic architecture, several remains from the time of the Knights of St. John can still be found today.

People who like to discover more of the unique archipelago of Greece find a good starting point for ''island hopping" in Rhodes as the neighbouring islands like Symi are worth visiting, too.


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