The largest of the twelve Dodecanese islands on the Aegean's eastern edge. Rhodes island is geographically located between Karpathos and Kos and it is, along Santorini and Mykonos, among the most popular Greek islands because of its combination of beaches, archaeological sites, and extensive medieval town. The well-preserved medieval city of Rhodes sits at the north of the island of the same name.
Rhodes has one of the longest and most splendid histories of any place in the world. Inhabited since Neolithic times, the island had important Bronze Age settlements, and at the dawn of the historical era was already famous for its three powerful cities of Lindos, Ialysos, and Kameiros, as mentioned in Homer. In 408 bce these three cities joined to found the island's capital city, also called Rhodes. Rhodes city and island played a vigorous role in subsequent ancient Greek and Roman history, its most memorable episode doubtless being the prolonged siege of the city by Demetrios Poliokertes in 305 bce. In Hellenistic times Rhodes became extremely prosperous through trade and was one of the most influential cultural centers of the Greek world. Later as a province of the Roman empire Rhodes' influence declined, though it was still an important regional capital and was one of the earliest centers of Christianity.
Rhodes later became part of the Byzantine Empire and from the 7th century on fell under the general eclipse of the Dark Ages. Later in the Middle Ages, Rhodes' importance again increased, as it came under the influence first of the Venetians, then of the Genoese, and finally of the Knights of Saint John, an organization of Crusaders who took over parts of Palestine but were later expelled by the Saracens and the Knights Templar and took refuge in Rhodes, wresting control of the island from the Genoese in 1306, ruling for two centuries, and building Rhodes once again into a major maritime power, until the island was conquered by Süleyman the Magnificent in 1523, becoming part of the Ottoman Empire.
There are many interesting sightseeings in Rhodes, a place with long history and rich tradition. In the ancient times, the statue of Colossus used to stand at the entrance of the port. The Old Town of Rhodes is among the best-preserved Medieval towns in Europe and impresses visitors with the romantic atmosphere. You can walk along the narrow paved streets, visit the Venetian Castle and the Byzantine churches, stroll around the old port and you will have the feeling that the Knights of Saint John will appear at the next corner.
Interesting places to visit are also the Acropolis of Lindos, the Aquarium, the Monastery of Filerimos and the Valley of Butterflies. Kallithea and Faliraki are the most popular places with many tourist facilities and restaurants. Due to the large size of the island, visitors will find numerous beaches for all preferences, even totally secluded places. Prassonissi, Ixia and Theologos are popular beaches for windsurfing and kite surfing. A drive around this Greek island will also bring you to many lovely spots and picturesque villages.