Rhodes is one of the most popular island locations scattered around Greece, well known for its beautiful landscapes and – naturally – its incredible climate throughout the year. It’s also one of the largest of the islands in the region, ranking around fourth in Greece’s own collection of islands.
Rhodes remains a spectacular holiday getaway. Therefore, it’s usually likely to see plenty of crowds gather here during the warmer months! Whether you’ve been before or are planning your own break away to the island, here are a few interesting facts about Rhodes you might not already know about its history, its landscape and more.
Rhodes has a spectacular coastline – it’s around 137 miles in length, or 220km. It also boasts a top peak of around 3,990 feet, or 1,216 metres, up at Mount Attavyros.
The island is said to date back to ancient times, with people originally starting to populate Rhodes around Stone Age times. However, it would be during the aftermath of Greek Trojan War which would see the society here really develop. Rhodes would be formed from three separate cities that built up here over time.
Rhodes has a smattering of villages and towns, with 43 thought to remain here at last count.
As with many Mediterranean getaways, Rhodes has ‘new’ and ‘old’ districts. The Old Town in Rhodes is actually such a historic landmark that it’s been recognised as a World Heritage Site. It’s held this status from UNESCO since 1988.
You may well have heard of Hercules and his many trials. It’s thought that the Greek hero actually formed one of the first settlements on the island of Rhodes and may actually have helped to build the very first community here.
Rhodes is also famous for its butterflies! The location of Petaloudes has the fantastic title of being the Valley of Butterflies, where you’ll find more than a million of the minibeasts persisting in the area. Fascinatingly, it’s unlikely the butterflies here will die out or go away – as they are fiercely protected. Even if you capture a single butterfly, you will face prosecution.
As you may expect, Rhodes benefits hugely from external tourism. In fact, it’s thought that around 75% of its ongoing economy is dependent on the travel and tourism industry, meaning it wants to remain appealing to holidaymakers all over the world.
Rhodes has a further nickname in that it is known to some as the Island of the Knights. However, this isn’t always a friendly nickname, as it refers to St John’s knights taking the island and making Rhodes their centre point in the region.
Of course, many people will know Rhodes for the fact that it was host to one of the famous Seven Wonders of the World. Specifically, it is here where you would have found the Colossus of Rhodes, a huge monument dedicated to the Sun God, Helios. It’s an ancient structure which is said to have been erected to commemorate the island overcoming Cyprus.
Helios is said to have created Rhodes from a nymph he fell in love with – he shone his light on her and she transformed into the ‘rosy’ island!
Rhodes is said to have changed hands between invading empires many times. It was not only the Jerusalem Knights who invaded, but also Italian and Turkish forces. In fact, it was the Italian forces who last had control until the island passed back into Greek control after World War II.
Believe it or not, the state of Rhode Island in the USA – one of the tiniest in the whole country – is said to be named after the Greek island of Rhodes. It’s thought that explorers found the shape of the US state to be similar in shape to its Greek cousin. However, some are split over how the state actually claimed its name – but it’s interesting to think about!
Believe it or not, the main emblem for the island is a deer. But why is this? It’s as a result of the rare dama-dama deer which lives in the forests of Rhodes. It’s clear that there a few animals which the islanders are passionate about protecting!
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Rhodes that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!