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Rhodes Island, Greece - History, Culture and Tradition

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Cosmopolitan Rhodes

Cosmopolitan Rhodes

Cosmopolitan Rhodes

Rhodes, legendary island of Helios the Sun God, is famous for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Tourists from around the world visit Rhodes for its beautiful beaches, rich history and to enjoy the rural feel of its traditional villages.
The island’s ancient and medieval monuments blend with the modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere of Rhodes.
Rhodes Island is the capital, financial and cultural centre of the Dodecanese Islands which include Kos, Symi Kalymnos, Kastellorizos, Karpathos, Kassos, Patmos, Astipalia, Leros, Lipsi, Nisiros, Tilos and Halki.
Mandraki Harbor
Mandraki Harbor is the first of three harbors where the famous Colossus of Rhodes once stood.
The modern capital of Rhodes lies along Mandraki Harbor filled with yachts, excursion boats, cruise ships and fishing boats.
The vibrant, seven-sided, New Market (Nea Agora) built near the harbor of Mandraki during the Italian era, is filled with cafes, food stalls and souvenir shops.
From the Mandraki waterfront you can gaze out to breathtaking views of the 15th-century fortress of Ayios Nikolaos, built by the Cusader, Knights of St John to help defend the island against Turkish assaults, three medieval, Byzantine windmills, the Palace of the Grand Master by the Knightsand a Turkish minaret.
Tourists can take a ferry over to neighboring islands like Symi, Kos, Patmos and Kalymnos or travel to go shopping in Athens or Marmara, Turkey.
You can swim or snorkel in crystal-clear beaches or yacht, kayak or windsurf in bays and coves that surround the island.
Historic monuments of Rhodes include include the Acropolis of Lindos, the Acropolis of Rhodes, the Temple of Apollo, ancient Ialyssos, ancient Kamiros, the Governor's Palace and the Archeological Museum.
Other attractions of the island include Faliraki with the largest Water Park in Europe, Kalithea, Trianda, Ixia, Paradissi, Valley of the Butterflies and Seven Springs (Epta Piges).

Nea Agora (New Market)

Nea Agora (New Market)

The Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes symbolized Helios, the sun-god. .
It was built around 280-BC to thank Helios, the sun-god for their victory over Demetrius, king of Macedon's (Greek city-state) long siege (305-BC) of Rhodes - so, the Colossus also represented freedom.
The sculptor Chares of Lindos created the 33 metres (108 feet), 20 ton statue, making it the tallest statue of the ancient world.
The Colossus of Rhodes was toppled by an earthquake around 226-BC
In the 7th century-AD, Arabs dismantled the Colossus and sold it as scrap metal.
It took 900 camels to carry away all the broken pieces of the statue.
Today, two bronze deer stand on top of tall columns where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Literature, art, architecture, philosophy, medicine, mathematics and democracy all had their western birth in Greece.
The Hellenistic period (323 to 33-BC) promoted the growth and spread of Greek culture and ideas throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.
All of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World required extensive knowledge of maths and science to engineer and build these massive structures
Six of the Seven Wonders were inspired by Greek culture and five of them were Greek ceations.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were:
*the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
*the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
*the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece
*the Colossus of Rhodes, Rhodes Island
*the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Asia Minor
*the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Asia Minor
the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Asia Minor

History - Ancient Period

The ancient city of Rodos (Rhodes) was founded by the islands three Doric cities of Lindos, Kamiros and Iallyssos in 408-BC.
Rodos was designed by Hippodamus of Miletus (Asia Minor), "the father of European urban planning".
He also had his hand in building the ancient port cities of Miletus and Piraeus, (Athens), founded in the early 5th century-BC.
Miletus founded more colonies than any other Greek city.
Strategically located between Crete and Asia Minor, Rodos flourished as a Greek city-state and was renowned for its beauty throughout the Mediterranean world.
It became a center of learning, it developed conservatories, markets, stadiums and over 3,000 statues - its masterpiece being the bronze statue of the Colossus of Rhodes.
With its many harbors, Rhodes became an ideal gateway to the Aegean for shipping in the ancient world.
They built a formidable merchant fleet, introduced maritime law, founded colonies, minted coins and established a school of sculpture which produced masterpieces for foreign commissions.
Later, when the island became a part of the Roman empire, important Romans like Juslius Caesar, Marc Antony and Cicero went to study there.
Invasions however, through the centuries by Romans, Byzantines, Crusader Knights, Genoese, Venetians, Ottomans and Italians have controlled the Dodecanese Islands for various periods leaving behind their own unique historical monuments.

Acropolis of Lindos

Acropolis of Lindos

Historic Lindos

Lindos is located in a large bay facing the fishing village and small resort of Charaki.
Its crystal-clear beaches make it a popular tourist and holiday destination.
Lindos, about 40 km south of the town of Rhodes with its ancient, clifftop, Acropolis, offers spectacular views of the town, bays and the Aegean coastline.
Lindos was founded by the Dorians who arrived about the 10th century-BC and was one of six Dorian cities in the area known as the Dorian Hexapolis.
The Acropolis of Lindos above the town was fortified successively by the Greeks, then Romans, Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Turkish Ottomans.
In Lindos, you will find ancient Hellenistic and Byzantine monuments as well as Crusader Knight fortifications.
The Bible affirms that the Apostle, St Paul, visited Rhodes in Acts 21:1, in 51-AD, on his return to Jerusalem from his third missionary journey to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
St. Paul's Bay in Lindos is named to honor his visit and a small monastery was built to commemorate the island people's conversion to Christianity.

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Old Town - Rhodes Island

The Knights of St. John, a Christian military order, came to Rhodes when they retreated from their crusades to free the Holy Land from Islamic forces in 1306-AD.
They were sovereign over Rhodes and later from Malta, where they administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily.
The Old Town with its fortified, high-walls, cobbled streets, archways and moat is a legacy of the Crusader Knights of St John from the 14th and 15th centuries.
It is the oldest and biggest medieval town of Europe, built according to the Hippodamean grid-plan of the 5th century-BC, Rodos streets.
The European Heritage Commission and UNESCO have designated the Old Town as a World Heritage site so that it may be protected for the benefit of all humanity.
On December 29, 1522, the Knights surrendered to Suleiman the Magnificent who had laid siege to the island with a huge force.
The Turkish occupation of Rhodes and all Greece, was the darkest period of their history.
Turkish rule lasted until 1922 when Italian forces seized the Dodecanese Islands.

Italian Period (1912-43)

The Italo-Turkish War, (1911–12), war undertaken by Italy to gain colonies in North Africa.
The Italians conquered the Turkish provinces of Tripolitana and Cyrenaica (modern Libya) and occupied the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea.
Their legacy is evident today in the cosmopolitan, New Town with its arched public buildings and beautiful, neo-colonial and Italianate style buildings.
Extensive infrastructure works and a new urban plan was also undertaken for the New Town of Rhodes.
They demolished many Ottoman buildings in the Old Town but kept the small mosques and minarets, the old Turkish baths, library, bazaar and many houses with their Turkish-style wooden balconies.
After the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II, the Dodecanese Islands came under British military administration and finally, the Greek flag was raised in Rhodes on March 7th, 1948 ending centuries of non-Greek rule.

Mesanagros - Rhodes Island.

Mesanagros - Rhodes Island.

Traditional Rhodes

Rhodes wonderful island landscape has rugged, hilly terrain and valleys, crystal-clear, sandy and pebbled beaches, bays and coves and panoramic islands and islets that can be seen from high points of the island.
There are traditional villages with their whitewashed houses in uncrowded natural surroundings.
A typical rural village home usually has a fireplace and a raised sleeping platform with storage cupboards underneath.
Interior decorations include traditional embroideries, ceramic plates and religious icons.
Age-old shepherds and farming paths crisscross hilly slopes and valleys, there are fields of wheat and barley, olive groves, watermelon and honeydew melon patches and vegetable gardens.
And, you can visit a traditional, village kafeneio (coffee-house) and watch the world go by over a cup of Greek coffee while sharing the peacefulness of the day in a tranquil, rural environment.

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Cultural Rhodes

On Rhodes quiet, rural roads and dirt tracks you will find its spiritual trails with their picturesque little hilltop monasteries that beautify the rugged landscape.
These humble, little monasteries are spiritual retreats that radiate unseen currents of peace, tranquility and the Love of our Lord.
There are the religious festivals (paniyiri) to look forward to throughout the various villages and towns - each with their own special traditions.
Traditional, religious festivals are where people can enjoy the festive atmosphere with family and friends with spit-roasted meats and dance to the music surrounded by wonderful, breathtaking mountain scenery.
Andreas Papavasiliou - Lyristis
People of all ages would come to hear Andrea play the beautiful music of Southern Rhodes with his small, short-necked, pear-shaped, three-stringed lyra. The charm of a bygone era - before the days of mass migration and the big tourism boom, Andreas Papavasiliou (Lyristis), a farmer and goat-herder from the small, hilltop village of Mesanagros provided the passionate pulse and brought gaiety to many a wedding and church festival.
With his small lyra held vertically and resting on his upper left thigh and traditionally accompanied by the long-necked, laouto that is strummed like a guitar, he lifted the spirits of the people and brought them up to their feet as they danced in time with the kefi (the spirit of joy) that is so intoxicating of Greek island music
Monastery Skiathi - Kosmas and Erini Kakou
Mountain scenery and beautiful coastline, the hilltop monastery of Skiathi with its historic icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary (known formally as Panayia Skiatheni) is
located about six kilometers from Mesanagros.
The breathtaking views of Monastery Skiathi offers a panoramic landscape of hills and valleys as well as distant inlets and islets.
Originally founded in the 13th C. AD, the monastery was known as Ayios Stavros (Holy Cross).
It was in the idyllic and tranquil little monastery of Skiathi, that Kosmas and Erini Kakou from the little hilltop village of Mesanagros in Rhodes Island, lived a way of life that was spiritually enriched through good works and good deeds.
The historic little Monastery Skiathi, was for eight years, the humble home for Kosmas and Erini Kakou. Their lives were guided by the principles of simplicity and self-sufficiency. They worked its fields and gardens, provided food, drink and accommodation for guests and weary travelers and shared with them the abundant love of God.

Traditional Village Life

Traditional Village Life

Monastery Skiathi - Mesanagros

Monastery Skiathi - Mesanagros

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