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Rhodes, Greece

The largest island in the Dodecanese and at the northeast limit of the Aegean Sea, Rhodes is an island rich with both history and mythology. But since you’re not going on Jeep Safari for educational purposes here are some highlights about the island you’ll be visiting!

Rhodian Mythology

According to ancient mythology Rhodes was named after the sea-nymph Rhoda, daughter of Poseidon and wife to Helios. Rhoda was worshiped by the inhabitants of the island and was co-protector of it alongside her husband. Her name was applied to the rose, which was on ancient Rhodian coinage, and today some still refer to this as the “island of roses.”

Acropolis of RhodesHelios was a titan who drove the sun chariot daily across the sky. He was protector of the island and so devoted to Rhoda that he named it after her. Many times Helios is associated with the Olympian sun-god Apollo.

Between 292 – 280 BC a great statue was erected in honor of Helios, The Colossus of Rhodes, and today is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It stood over 30 meters (107 feet) before an earthquake in 226 BC caused it to fall.



Ancient History

Ixia Bay
  • The Neolithic period (3rd millennium BC) saw the first inhabitants of Rhodes and the island began to flourish when the Minoans came to settle.
  • 10th century BC welcomed the Dorians to Rhodes, where they named three major cities: Lindos, Ialyssos and Kameiros.
  • During ancient times, geography contributed to Rhodes being a major naval and mercantile center as well as a dominating power in the Dodecanese.
  • The island saw much activity during the Byzantine and modern eras, primarily war brought on by allies and enemies; thus creating a slow, steady decline of its independence and growth.

Recent History

Grand Master's Palace
  • In 1309 Rhodes was conquered by the Order of the Knights of St. John. They brought the island protection against the Turks during the Crusades and built the medieval city (today referred to as the “Old City”).
  • The Turks did, however, capture Rhodes in 1522. While considered to be the darkest period of its history, several towns on the island were still able to flourish economically.
  • Rhodes was conquered in 1912 by the Italians during the war between Turkey and Italy, until subsequently seized by Germany in the 2nd World War (1943).
  • By 1945 the Dodecanese transferred alliances, particularly with England, and Rhodes finally became part of the Greek state in 1948.