Rhodes is located on the southeastern corner of the Aegean and it belongs to the Dodecanese group of islands. It balances between three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. The coasts of Asia Minor are only 11 nautical miles away. The island covers an area of 1,398 square km, a maximum length of 79,7km and a maximum width of 38km. It is the fourth largest Greek island after Crete, Euboea and Lesvos and by far the largest of the Dodecanese.
The highest mountain on Rhodes is Atavyros (1,215m). The island of Rhodes is famous worldwide mainly for two reasons: its amazingly preserved medieval town, which is included in the List of World Heritage Towns, and the fact that it is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Greece as well as in Europe. All that does not, however, mean that Rhodes is lacking in other areas, such as attractions of archaeological interest, natural beauty, alternative tourism, etc.
The island is endowed by nature with endless kilometers of beaches, mountains covered with pine and cypress trees as well as abundant water –a rare case in the Aegean. Nature’s greatest gift is the sun: there are only a few days when there is no sunshine, even in winter. In antiquity the island excelled in shipping: «Ten Rhodians, ten ships», they used to say. The Rhodian folk speech has retained many elements of the ancient Doric Greek dialect and it resembles a lot the Cypriot as well as the Cretan accent.
Since the Roman period, Rhodes was one of the most popular destinations. There were many things for a tourist to see and the Rhodians banked on that. Most temples of the island, besides being places of worship, were also operating as museums. The tourist attractions in the antiquity were many and highly frequented but the best of all was the Colossus of Rhodes, the enormous statue that dominated the island’s harbor. The 1960s marked a new tourism boom on Rhodes. Today it is the top Greek island in tourist infrastructure. Greeks, Byzantines, Knights, Turks and Italians have created here a puzzle using pieces from their cultures and aesthetics.