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RHODES is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and the top packaged-tour destination in Greece.

For decades a favorite destination of Scandinavians, Germans and Brits, Rhodes has developed one of the best hotel infrastructures in the country and offers holidaymakers top quality accommodations and service. The main attractions of Rhodes are undoubtedly its medieval old town and the almost 100 km stretch of grey and white sand beaches that span the entire eastern part of the island; from Rhodes Town to Prassonisi, at its southern tip. The ancient acropolis of Lindos is one of the best preserved ancient sites in the whole country and the village of Lindos is as charming as they come. Rhodes was first colonized by the Minoans of Crete and then by the Myceneans and the Dorians. By the 5th century BC the island's three major cities, Lindos, Ialysos and Kamyros formed a commonwealth and contributed to the building of a new capital, "Rose City", or "Rodos" in Greek. The island ruled its surrounding region both in trade and in military terms, and it became one of the leading powers of the Eastern Mediterranean around the time of Alexander the Great, in the 4th century BC. During the wars of succession that followed Alexander's death, Rhodes was besieged by Demetrios Poliorkitis ("the Siege Layer") and an army of Syrians but managed to stave off the invaders who left behind a great deal of arms and siege equipment. The locals used this bronze to cast the Colossus, one the wonders of the ancient world, which stood 42 m (140 ft), near the harbor, until an earthquake caused it to tumble in early 3rd century AD. From that point on it is a constant stream of invaders and other assorted ... passers by that mark the history of the island. Romans, Arabs, Saracens, Venetians, and Crusaders left their mark, until, in 1291, the Knights of St John bought the Dodecanese from the ruling Genoese corsairs and established their order on the islands. Rhodes flourished and the Knights built the city as we know it today, with the Palace of the Grand Master, the Auberges, and the mighty fortifications that withstood years of pounding by Ottoman armies, determined to conquer Rhodes and stop the Knights' interference in their shipping routes. Finally, in 1522, Suleiman the Magnificent laid a 12-month seige on Rhodes and ended the rule of the Knights of St John over the island and the archipelago. The island suffered mass attrocities during the Greek Revolution of 1821, as its Turkish rulers punished the revolting islanders for what they saw as disloyal and insulting behavior from a favored and privileged territory of the Ottoman Empire. The island, along with the rest of the Dodecanese, came under Italian jurisdiction after the 1913 Balkan War and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, and it was, finally, joined with Greece in 1948, after WW II.


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