One could say that history began for Rhodes at the prehistoric site of Trianda on the coast of the island. During the Bronze Age, the Minoans on Crete were in close to the island inhabitants and exacted trade and exchange. Evidence of this includes pottery, fresco paintings, and measuring weights found at Trianda.
The Mycenaeans established colonies for centuries starting from the 14th century BC and ending around the middle of the 11th century BC. During this time, there was Greek rule in the form of city-states run by tyrants in the south-east, north and north-east.
Around the time the Persians ruled in 490 BC, the island of Rhodes became a member of the Delian League. This was ruled by Athens. The island staged a revolt against Athens in 412 BC during the Peloponnesian War, later followed by the federal state being formed. The capital of this new state was Rhodes, at the north of the island.
During the Hellenistic period, Rhodes came under the rule of Alexander the Great. Rhodes started as an ally to Rome, ultimately giving up its independence to it to become an important Roman cultural and educational center for noble families. The Byzantine period ushered in more conquerors, including Islamic rule.
Around 1310 AD, the Knights Hospitaller took control of the island and came under siege from the Sultan of Egypt and later the Ottoman Empire. Battles waged on for several years and ultimately the Ottoman Empire ruled the Island of Rhodes for close to four centuries.
Modern Rhodes was seized from the Turks by Italy in 1912. After a brief stint of occupation, the Germans surrendered Rhodes and the rest of the Dodecanese in 1945. Finally, in 1947, Rhodes was united with Greece.
Shaped like a spearhead, the island of Rhodes is in the Aegean Sea. It is close to fifty miles long and only 11 miles from the coast of Turkey. It is 226 miles from Greece mainland.
Rhodes has a very hot summer climate, with Mediterranean weather. It has rainy winters and dry, hot sunny summers. The average temperatures in the summer time can reach the mid to high eighties and the low to mid seventies. The winter months are mild with lows in the high forties to highs in the high fifties.
Rhodes is steeped in mythology, primarily Greek. Legend tells of a nymph named Rhodes, who had seven sons with Helios. There is also the belief that the Techines, a race of people who were half god, half man, worked in metalwork on the island of Rhodes. Rhodians also worshiped Hercules, Apollo, Zeus, Athena, Dionysus, as well as the Egyptian Sarahi’s and Isis cults.
Because of this, there are a great number of historical sites to behold such as the Acropolis of Lindos and the Acropolis of Rhodes along with the Temple of Pythian Apollo. The Governor’s Palace, the Palace of the Grand Masters, the old town and St. Catherine Hospice are full of historical significance.
The Rhodes Footbridge and the ruins of the castle of Monolithos are excellent antiquities to take in during a day of sightseeing as well. And if you can’t see it all, there is always tomorrow, for the Island of Rhodes will survive another day, as it always has.