Rhodes (Greek: Ρόδος, Ródos, [ˈroðos]) is a large Greek island about 18 kilometres (11 mi) south-west of Turkey in the eastern area of the Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with around 115,490 (2011 census) inhabitants. Administratively the island forms a separate 'municipality' within the Rhodes peripheral unit, which is in turn part of the South Aegean Periphery. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. The major industry is tourism.
The island of Rhodes is shaped like an ancient spearhead, a full 79.7 km (49.5 mi) long and 38 km (24 mi) wide, with a total area of roughly 1,400 square kilometres (541 sq mi), and a varied coastline of approximately 220 km (137 mi) that includes hundreds of beaches and coves. The mediaeval and the modern area of the city of Rhodes is strategically located at the northern tip of the island, and this includes the site of the ancient and modern commercial harbours. The main air gateway (Diagoras International Airport, IATA code: RHO) is located just 14 km (9 mi) to the southwest of the city in Paradisi. The road network radiates from the city along the east and west coasts as does the bus and coach routes.
↓ The Geographical Topography of Rhodes↓
Travel Writer: Ava Van Hollander ©2011
'The Original Sunshine Isle'
Rhodes is an island of superlatives – a cosmopolitan hotspot of extreme beauty, ancient history, romantic mythical resonance and an uplifting climate to beat all others. You want sunshine and a longer, happier life? Well, this is where the sun always shines and where people do actually live longer, factually, because this is Rhodes.
Rhodes always has had that uncanny power to make people fall in love with her mostly alluring, often beautiful, invariably interesting and even captivating character. Nature and the gods have smiled benignly on this extravagantly fertile island, and she wears her gilded crown as the Queen of the Greek islands proudly - and deservedly so. The ghost of the Helios sun god gilded bronze statue, once gigantic and astride the harbour, still haunts an evocative and enthralling landscape that time has richly imbued with historical importance.
Rhodes is whatever you want it to be – it always has been: a chameleon island with an ancient tradition behind it. Over the millennia nothing has changed as Rhodes still acts like a magnet to scholars, party people, romantics, archaeologists, writers, artists, sports fanatics, sailors and foodies alike. It has everything you could ever want, need or desire – that’s what Rhodes is good at: pleasing people. Add to this extensive menu of attractions factors like superb produce, including quality Rhodian wines (for thousands of years prized and desired), excellent local fresh food and other products, and you have the fine ingredients of a truly memorable visit.
Rhodes is famous, infamous and notable for all sorts of reasons. Forget about one or two holiday ‘resorts’ of questionable fame where the young, as if their right of passage, get drunk and, frankly, party away like mad – that’s just a minuscule part of Rhodes' vast tourist activity. The queen of the Greek islands is mostly a wonderful, uplifting mix of ravishing sun, Homer's fabled wine-dark sea (gloriously blue too!) and all manner of positives all rolled into one polyglot experience. You want to unwind in peace and quiet? No problem! Amongst the myriad of locations to stay, you will always find something to suit your requirements - whoever you are and whatever you are seeking. You want to party - again Rhodes obliges.
Remember, Rhodes is not only a famous world-class destination, it also boasts one of the worlds most important historical sites in the form of the stunning Rhodes Old Citadel, where history, myth and sheer spectacle clash in one intriguing showcase of architecture and inspiring detail. Walk the shaded streets of the Knights Templars and breathe-in a living history that permeates every stone. You can almost hear the voices of the past as you saunter along amongst the earthquake-proofed mediaeval structures. Such factors never fail to charm and impress her visitors time and time again, year after year.
Returning to her radiant heart is exceptionally easy for tens of thousands of tourists and devotees sing her praises just as they did two thousand years ago. Why else do you think everyone wanted to possess Rhodes? From the Knights to the Romans and everyone else, history is peppered with pretender owners staking a claim. Yet Rhodes has prevailed whilst her captors have either died out or been repelled by time and desolation.
You cannot get tired of Rhodes – there are far too many places to visit, beaches to partake and experiences to log. Vistas and atmospheres will haunt your memory and senses like the divine perfume of the night scented jasmine that permeates many an alleyway. In a place where oranges, plump peaches and pomegranates hang heavily from trees in profusion, and where superb local lamb that has been dining on wild organic herbs, offers a great culinary experience - it is no wonder that the cuisine of Rhodes is often referred to as the best in Greece. Remember – it’s not that far from the Middle East and with Turkey above and Egypt stridently below her, the influences are vast and diverse echoing back many thousands of years.
Come to Rhodes by any means, but come willingly to experience one of the world's great locations. Don't think for one second that Rhodes is anything like any other island on earth, because it is quite simply enduringly, exquisitely and decidedly unique. Being an original is a breeze for this island because Rhodes invented it!