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Rhodes

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The spearhead-shaped island of Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands. It is just 18 kilometres west of Turkey, between the Greek mainland and Cyprus, and is the Aegean Sea's easternmost island.

Its medieval section is a World Heritage Site and it is certainly one of Europe's top tourist destinations, thanks to its 300 plus days of sunshine every year.

Excavations unearthed many important monuments from the island's three most significant cities, Lindos, Kamiron and Ialysos. The ruins, particularly those of Lindos, are well worth a visit. Painting and sculpture were highly developed on Rhodes. The famous Colossus, a bronze statue of the god Helios, was the principal deity worshipped there. It became one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Archangelos is the biggest village on Rhodes, with around 6000 inhabitants. The church of the Archangel Michael and its fine 1845 campanile dominate the centre of town. You must enter and see its wonderful frescoes.

Traditional houses are painted in vivid yellows, blues and green and their arches and walls are decorated with ceramic plates from nearby Lindos. There are narrow streets and the village square has the modern day necessities such as banks and a post office.

Stegna Beach is next to Archangelosis. The white sandy beach is tucked between mountains at the end of a winding road. Along the way you pass sheep and almond and lemon groves. It has an unspoilt village atmosphere with a slow and relaxed pace. Evenings tend to liven up when the taverna hosts beach parties. Tsampika Beach, alongside Stegna, is also beautiful.

The archaeological site of Lindos on the island's east coast is just 55kms south of the town of Rhodes. It is on a large bay with fine beaches and faces the fishing village and small resort of Haraki.

The acropolis of Lindos, a natural citadel, rises above the town. It was fortified by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Knights of St John and the Ottomans. Along with its 2400-year history, it has spectacular views.

Also of great interest is the Doric Temple of Athena Lindia from 300BC, the Propylaea of the Sanctuary, the Hellenistic stoa with lateral projecting wings, a relief of a Rhodian trireme (warship) cut into rock and the Hellenistic staircase from the 2nd century BC leading to the main archaeological area of the acropolis.

Lindos is full of whitewashed houses and narrow alleys where you find restaurants and souvenir shops.

Creating Rhodes Town as a new capital took the focus off Lindos, so many of its medieval building survived. Rhodes Old Town, on the northern tip of the island, is Europe's oldest inhabited medieval town.

The colossus was built there in 282BC to celebrate a battle victory, but was toppled by an earthquake after just 56 years.

Taking a private guided tour or joining a scheduled tour makes it possible to cover centuries in just a few hours.

There are plenty of places to sample traditional Greek dishes of lamb, dolmades, freshly caught seafood and the drinks of the island are retsina and ouzo.

You can hire scooters all over Rhodes and they make for a cheap and fun way to get around. You should only consider hiring one if you are experienced as they are potential death traps.

Location

Greece's Dodecanese Islands.

Cost

Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre has three-night packages starting at $229 per person twin share. They include accommodation and breakfast. They can arrange an English speaking private guide for around $495 for four hours.

Emirates has flights to Athens.

Fares from;
  • Melbourne, $2036
  • Brisbane, $2039
  • Sydney, $2053
  • Perth, $2199
  • Adelaide, $2655
  • Darwin, $3588

Valid for travel between October 4 and November 11, 2007.

More information

Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre
Suite 2, 644 Botany Road
Alexandria NSW 2015
Ph: (02) 93134633
1300 661 666
Fax: 02-93134475
Website: www.greecemedtravel.com
Email: info@greecemedtravel.com.au

Emirates
Ph: 1300 303 777
Website: www.emirates.com

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