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Rhodes – Who Could Ask For Anything More?

sunny 25 °C

The Dodecanese, twenty or so idyllic Greek islands that lie off the coast of Turkey, have been fought over for thousands of years, but all is peaceful today since the bulk of the summer tourists have gone home and the flood of Syrian refugees has abated. However, we are not entirely alone as we begin our visit to the island of Rhodes. A few stragglers from Northern Europe have delayed their return to take advantage of the warm seas and the glorious Aegean weather...
We have a couple of weeks to explore the island of Rhodes and parts of mainland Greece so we will start with a little history.
The Minoans and Myceneans overran the stone-age inhabitants of the islands nearly 3,000 years ago and then in 407 BC Hippodamos of Miletos, (the town planner extraordinaire of his day), built the city of Rhodos; the finest and best organised city of the known world at the time.

Rhodos, (or Rhodes to us), has had many names and many different rulers over the millenia including the Ottomans,Turks, Italians, Germans and Brits. It has been firmly Greek since 1947 when the British gave it back after liberating it from the Germans at the end of WWII. Despite numerous conquests and countless earthquakes, the bulk of the fortified city built over a period of two thousand five hundred years has survived...
Unfortunately, the earthquake of 226 BC destroyed Rhodes' greatest monument – the Colossus of Rhodes. This enormous bronze statue of the Greek god Helios was erected to celebrate Rhodes victory over Cyprus. It was over 100 feet tall and in Medieval times it was fancifully believed that it had straddled the harbour entrance of Mandraki. There are plans to replace the statue but for now there are just two columns surmounted by a bronze doe and stag – the city's emblems
Much of the city we are visiting today was built about 700 years ago by the Knights Hospitallers – a religious order of Knights Templars who established their headquarters on Rhodes in 1307 when they left Cyprus and were given Rhodes by the Pope. The fortifications and walled city are the largest and best preserved Medieval constructions in Europe and we barely skimmed the surface as we walked around the dry moat...
...climbed some of the battlements...
And took a first look at the maze of streets within the walls...
It is easy to see the Turkish coast from the fortress of Rhodes and ferries make the crossing daily. We have no plans to re-visit Turkey but we took to the sea in a glass-bottomed boat to view the somewhat sparse sea life and to visit the windmills that once ground the city's grain...
There were thirteen windmills at one time but only three survive today and they no longer operate.
Both the city of Rhodes and the island seem to have much to offer and as we dine under the stars on freshly caught fish we can already see why it is a very popular tourist destination... Sun, sea, culture and a plethora of authentic Greek restaurants – who could ask for anything more?

Posted by Hawkson 10:23 Archived in Greece

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Can't quite read the menu but I'll bet there's a good Retsina listed to go with the fish.
Lovely old ketch in that first photo--fisherman?

by R and B

At some point the Knights Templar hid at Bisham Abbey next to Marlow on Thames, I have a water colour painting by my brother hanging in our living room.

by Janet

Ah, eating outside in the sun with all that fresh caught seafood. bliss.

by Sue Fitzwilson

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