The Island of the Knights

One of the most well known of the Greek Islands is Rhodes. Along with Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu and Crete, it’s part of a well-worn path for tourists. While the first three of those are famous for their beaches and nightlife, similar to Crete, Rhodes is a place for the history buffs. Don’t get me wrong, the two of them also have their pretty seaside attractions and a thriving party scene, but in my eyes they’re not the best features of the place.

Rhodes is nicknamed ‘The Island of the Knights’, due to the fact that the Knights of St John ruled Rhodes for two centuries from 1310 to 1522. Many of the city’s most famous monuments were built during this period, as it went under a transformation to turn it into a model of the medieval European settlement. Much like the rest of Greece, in the centuries both before and after this time there were varying ruling powers. Each left their mark on the island in the form of temples, fortifications, the culture and even religion.

Some of you may also know Rhodes as being the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In 280BC, as a celebration of their defeat of the ruler of Cyprus, who had besieged their city in 305BC, they built a 33 metre tall statue of the sun god Helios. It later became known the world over as ‘The Colossus of Rhodes’, a towering figure that stood at the entrance of the harbour. Sadly, it fell in the earthquake of 226BC, however there’s talk of building a new colossus in the years ahead.

If you visit Rhodes, keep in mind it’s the fourth largest island in Greece, so you’ll need at least a week to really see the place. One tip if you plan on visiting – stay in the old town. It’s the heart and soul of the place and while it does get busy during the day, in the morning and late evening it’s a serene setting with loads of old world charm.