One of the most beautiful places to stay, where the sun almost always shines… Its patron is not in vain Helios – the sun god. It is home to one of the seven wonders of the world, and history and mythology is rich and eventful. This is all the island of Rhodes.
Geographical location and climate of the island
Rhodes is one of the largest islands Greece. The island is located in the Aegean Sea, but in the west it is washed by the Cretan Sea, and in the east by the Libyan Sea. Like many Greek islands, Rhodes is one of the parts of the ancient mainland of the Aegean. The area of the island is about 1402 square kilometers, its length is 77 km, and its width is 37 km.
In the main central part of Rhodes is the Atabirian mountain system, and only closer to the shores are fertile valleys.
The climate on the island is Mediterranean, winters are quite mild, and in summer, on the contrary, it is fresh.
The combination of constant high humidity with sunny days almost all year round makes Rhodes one of the most favorable places for a variety of vegetation. So on the island there are forests rich in wildlife, including a rare species of deer – Platoni.
History of Rhodes
The history of the island goes back to the Neolithic – already in this period the island was inhabited by people. His fate is sometimes tragic, and sometimes majestic, but always rich and bright.
In the era of the Minoan civilization, Rhodes, like many other Greek islands, was under the rule of Crete, and from the 15th century BC. – the Mykene. In the 11th century BC. Rhodes was conquered by one of the ancient Greek tribes – the Dorians. During this period, it was divided into six separate city-states.
During the Persian invasion, the island was captured by the Persians, and twice.
And only as a result of the Great Campaign of Alexander the Great to the east, Rhodes was finally liberated.
The entire subsequent era of the island’s life, up to 226 BC, marked the achievement of the greatest prosperity. At this time such prominent representatives of culture and science as Geminos, Hipparchus – astronomers lived in Rhodes; Apollonius of Rhodes, Aeschines – orators.
The culmination of a period of prosperity was the erection on the island of a huge statue of the sun god Helios in 292 BC. The statue went down in history as the Colossus of Rhodes as one of the seven wonders of the world. Unfortunately, the statue was destroyed during an earthquake in 226 BC. Later the fate of Rhodes was connected with Rome, from where Christianity came to the island (represented by the Apostle Paul); then with Byzantium.
The time from 1309 to 1522 AD can be called the most heroic and outstanding. During this period, the knights of the Order of the Hospitallers settled on the island, who built the famous Rhodes fortress with the Palace of the Grand Masters. And for two centuries they defended the island and its inhabitants from Turkish and Egyptian invaders.
For a long time, Rhodes fell under Turkish rule, which ended in 1912, when Italy received the rights to the island as a result of the victory in the war over Turkey. Rhodes also survived the occupation by the Germans, then the British. And only in 1948 he was finally reunited with Greece.
The island of Rhodes is associated with many myths and legends. Only about the appearance of the island and its name, there are about four of them. The storylines of the stories differ in detail, but the basis is the same – the founders of the island and the ancestors of the first inhabitants were a nymph named Rhodes and the sun god Helios.
There are also many legends about the heroes who have ever visited the island: Alfemena (grandson of Minos), Tlepolema (son of Hercules), Forbante (from the Lapith tribe), Danae (king of Argos).
There is even a legend about Elena the Beautiful, who, allegedly, after the end of the Trojan War, settled in Rhodes. In this myth, the fate of the beauty is very tragic – Elena was hanged from a tree by order of Queen Polixo, whose husband died at Troy. So the widow took revenge on the one over whom one of the most cruel wars was unleashed.
There are many excursion sites in Rhodes that are worth seeing. These are not only historical architectural monuments, but also natural parks. Here is a list of the most interesting and significant sights:
1. The ancient city of Lindos. Located in the southeastern part of the island.
2. Rhodes fortress. Built by the Hospitallers in the 14th century.
3. Antique Acropolis. Located near the city of Rhodes.
4. Church of the Assumption of the Virgin. Built in the 14th century in the village of Asklipio. There is a medieval castle nearby.
5. Monastery of the Mother of God “Tsambiki”. There is an icon in the monastery, which is considered miraculous.
6. Natural Park “Seven Springs”… Located in the east of the island, near the village of Kolimbia.
7. Valley of the Butterflies… The original name is “Petaloudes Valley”. For the summer period, butterflies of the type “four-point bear” flock to the valley.
The ancient city of Lindos
There is one small settlement in Rhodes (only 700 inhabitants), but very beautiful and popular. This is Lindos is one of the main sights islands… Rather, its old part is a historical monument.
On the rock, at the foot of which the modern city is located, is the ancient Acropolis. Its main historical architectural sites are:
– antique temple of the goddess Athena, built in the 4th century BC;
– fortress of the Order of St. John, erected by the knights of the order in 1467;
– Archocrateon, another necropolis of the Hellenistic era, built for the burial of representatives of the Arhocratids.
– tomb of Cleobulus, a construction made of stone of a cylindrical shape, inside there is a burial chamber. Presumably, this was the burial place of one of the rulers of Lindos;
The Rhodes Fortress is one of the most monumental buildings on the island. Today it is a museum, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But the fortress was built by the Knights Hospitallers for defensive purposes from the Arab-Turkish invaders. And after the capture of Jerusalem by the Arabs, it became the residence of the master of the order, thus becoming a stronghold of Christianity.
Even now, the fortress is the pinnacle of fortification architecture, and delights with its majesty and reliability.
The peculiarity of the fortress is the presence of 11 gates in it.
They all differ in architecture and degree of fortification. The most famous are the Amboise gate (the most protected), the St. Athanasius gate (front door), the St. John gate (or the red gate).
Inside the fortress is the Grand Master’s Palace, where 19 masters of the order once lived… After Rhodes was occupied by the Turks, and the Rhodes fortress was abandoned by the knights, the palace fell into disrepair and was badly damaged during the earthquake. It was restored during the Italian rule in Rhodes. The palace is now a museum.
Although Rhodes is not as ancient as Crete, and not as romantic as Thira, it is interesting and beautiful in its own way, it has its own special atmosphere. In Rhodes, too, everyone can find a vacation to their liking, and the three seas surrounding it create a special “climate” on the island.