5 things you need to know about Rhodes
1. The name ‘Rhodes’
According to Greek mythology the Sun God, Helios, fell in love with a beautiful nymph called Rhodes. When his sunlight finally touched her skin, she transformed herself into an island. Rhodes also means “rose” in Greek, which is fitting given how many flowers there are on the island.
2. The Colussus of Rhodes
The Colussus of Rhodes was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios, erected by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC to celebrate the successful defence of Rhodes against an attack. According to contemporary descriptions, it soared 33 metres (108 ft) high. That makes it around the same height as the Statue of Liberty in New York. An earthquake damaged part of the statue in 226 BC and in 653 AD General Muawiyah I destroyed the statue and sold the remains when he conquered the city.
Petaloudes, known as the Valley of Butterflies, is one of Rhodes’ most unusual tourist destinations. It’s home to millions of butterflies. The valley, which features waterfalls and lakes, is busiest during August when thousands of butterflies swarm here to reproduce.
Some say Italians brought the butterflies to the valley in the 1930s but locals argue that they’ve been here for far longer.
Apart from its 42 idyllic beaches, Rhodes is known for its vivid green hills and valleys. Pines and Cypress trees covered around 37% of the entire island. Some say that its nickname refers to its gemstone-like shape.
5. The ‘Isle of the Knights’
The Knights of the Order of St. John settled there and occupied the island for two centuries, building all kinds of exotic samples of Gothic, medieval architecture – a glimpse at a very different world. The old town, where the knights had raved architecturally, is voted a Worl Heritage site and has got a soul of its own. The Palace of the Grand Magister of the Knights has turned into a rich museum. There you can see medieval mirrors, furniture, pots and paintings.