Brief History of Rhodes

The Ancient Times

Three thousand years ago the cities of Ialysos, Kamiros and Lindos prospered on Rhodes Island. The city of Rhodes was built 400 b.c and is more than 2400 years old.

In 280 b.c a gigantic statue was built in the honour of the God of the Sun Helios. It became known as the Colossus of Rhodes,  took 12 years to complete and is known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The statue was around 30 meters high with sunbeams around its head. The Colossus collapsed during an earthquake 226 b.c. The habitants of Rhodes were afraid they had awakened the rage of the God of the Sun Helios and did not dare to rebuild it.

Christianity

The apostle Paul brought christianity to the island of Rhodes during the first century. He preached the gospel, many got baptized as christians and the bay next to Lindos is named St Pauls Bay. The writings of the Apostle Paul is to be found in The Bible´s New Testament and are called The Acts.

During the second century Rhodes was seen as the most civilized and beautiful city throughout all of Ancient Greece.

The Middle Ages

The year of 1309 The Knights of St. John occupied Rhodes. They were also known as The Hospitalers, the catholic order The Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, who in the beginning were dedicated only to help sick pilgrims but who later took on the mission to help all sick and poor, as well as all christians exposed to threats. Men of noble families from all over Europe devoted their lives to the order and they became known as one of the most competent warriors of their time. Thus the hospitalers expanded into a sovereign military order that for five hundred years came to play a big part in defending Europe as we know it.

 

The knights fortified and expanded the city walls of Rhodes and created a whole new district inside the city walls for its military headquarters, as well as the Palace of the Grandmaster, a hospital and everything that was needed to make the Rhodes a fortress impossible to invade. For 200 years the walls constructed by the knights withstood the attacks from enemies.

1522 the city of Rhodes fell, as the Siege of Rhodes by Suleiman and his 200.000 soldiers had lasted for half a year. Rhodes never hosted more than 700 knights at the same occasion. Still sources claim that the knights, the locals and an amount of mercenaries killed approximately 15.000 Ottoman soldiers in one day. It is also said that Suleiman after tremendous losses in his army was just about to give up the siege and to leave Rhodes, when a traitor from within the walls sent a message telling him that there was no longer any food and that the knights were so worn out that they would not last much longer. Suleiman stayed and the knights did not see an other option than to capitulate, due to lack of food and so many wounded or dead, both among locals as well as among the knights themselves.

The few surviving knights were permitted to leave for Sicily and later on moved to Malta.

After the knights defeat, Rhodes became a part of the Ottoman Empire for the next 390 years.

The Modern Times

In the beginning of the 19th century Italy conquered Rhodes from Turkey. The Italians ruled Rhodes until the end of World War Two and contributed with improving the infrastructure, renovating and constructing buildings. After a brief German presence towards the end of the war, Rhodes became a British protectorate. Finally in 1948 Rhodes is reunited with Greece.

More to explore in Rhodes

Things to do and explore:

  • Daily Tours, Boat Trips, Scuba Diving, VIP Private Tours and More at: www.bespoketravel.gr

  • The Medieval Rose Festival 31/5-2/6 2019

  • The Grandmaster Palace of the Knights of St.John

  • Archeological museum ( Hospital of the Knights)

  • Filerimos  mountain and the Church of Our Lady of Filerimos, built by the knights

  • The Ancient Stadium of Rhodes

  • Historical tour with an authorized historical guide

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Rhodes - Greece

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