The Rhodes island is known for its beaches and this is because its and island and has one of most picturesque beaches in this part of Europe. However, there are very rich heritage ties that this island bears and this is mainly because of the villages on the island that have maintained these ties to its strong culture. The villages are mostly the more quite areas of the island, however, for tourists who have an interest in culture & history, there is a lot of rich Greek heritage waiting to be explored. One such village is the Asklipios which located to the south eastern part of the island and is about 64 kms from the capital city of Rhodes.
This city is one of the best for a visit that can be educative about the past and the way this past has blended with the modern times. The village has been a major attraction due to its amphitheatre like location which provides the entire view of the village from various locations. Not just that, this village has a certain level of natural beauty which is only amplified with the geographical location of the village in the middle of mountains, giving an excellent ride on the way to this village. A major section of houses is built with most white mass which only gives a sneak peek to folklore architecture in this region.
There are 2 places worth a visit while in this village. One of this is the Medieval Castle, this castle is the architecture right from the 13th century and was built by the Knights during their reign around this territory. The second place, is the church that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, this church dates back to 1060 AD and is more of a museum in the present days. The villagers celebrate 2 major festivals in the month of August, these are the Transfiguration of Christ & the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.
The village, although not considered as a tourist destination, has a variety of staying options that can be very handy. These include the high costing villas to the more economical hotel stays.
This village of the Greek island is considered to be one of the most active of all villages in all of Rhodes island. This village is considered to have fought bravely in most wars that occurred across the territory and was against any kind of foreign rule on the island. Legend has it that this village was witness to the most historic even on the island, famously termed as the ‘bloddy Easter of 1919’ which was the revolt of local villagers against the then dominant Italian rule over the island. These signs of revolt were also seen during the World War II, although this time around the magnitude was much lesser therefore oppressed by the Italian-German governance.
The Monolithos village is situated at the southwestern side of the Rhodes island and is at a distance of approximately 73 kms from the main city of Rhodes. One of the very few villages that has more than 350 permanent residents, these also include some houses made of stone and some streets which add to tourists attraction in the village. The name of the village is owed to an age old rock that dates back to monolithic times, on top of which is built an elegant castle which is a part of the reign of the Knights over the island. This village is an excellent ride from the main town and has a lot of options for staying back for a day or two. There is plenty of staying options, along with facilities for eating and a few drinks over the perfect backdrop of natural ambience.
While at the village, there is a medieval castle worth spending time at. This castle is considered to be from the times of the Knights and has been built with an access road over 100 carved stones. This castle has a small guard house that would light a torch in cases of emergency and indicate to the people to evacuate the village. The castle had enough space to accommodate the villagers and would act as a safeguard during times of pirates raiding the village. This castle is worth a visit during the day, but is simply brilliant at the sunset time, this is when the reddish horizon has a view of the entire surrounding islands, the sea and the waters making a picture perfect setting for some great photographic moments.
Kalathos is one of the smaller villages on the island. Kalathos is about 6 kms from Lindos and is approximately 46 kms away from the city of Rhodes and the airport. This village is within the municipality of Lindos, since it is easier for managing and lesser hassles of creating an individual municipality for a small village. Kalathos has about 400 permanent residents that form the population of the village and have been responsible for maintaining the culture in this part of the island. There are many settlements in this region and the construction of the area is a good reflection of the ancient Greek architecture, although modern need of space has led to the modification of most housing settlements. Being away from the main city, has its own toll on the people in Kalathos since it is difficult to keep the tourists engaged in the village.
In spite of all the set backs, the village of Kalathos is a place worth the visit for being away from the entire buzz of tourists created during the vacation. There are plenty of eating options that also include the local Greek Tavernas and a lot of local restaurants to choose from. Besides the food, there is a beach in the vicinity called the Shingle Beach which has as long as half a mile long area covered in sand. This beach is big, has lots of space and can handle quite a few large groups of tourists. Ironically, since there is no big flock of tourist visits, there is a lot of isolation, calm and relaxation to be found on this beach. Again, there are plenty of tavernas to make the food available and the sub beds that can be solace for sun bathers.
The beach of Shingle offers an exquisite view of sand for a vast stretch, the sand & tiny pebbles are visible for as far as you can see. The beach stretch is approximately 4km long and has a few sections which are restricted due to commercial reasons. Kalathos, has a bus service that runs towards the main city and is pretty regular during the day. This is the most cost effective way of travelling to this part of the island, others include renting a car or a motorbike and riding from the main city.
This island is geographically one of the smallest of all Dodecanese islands and barely covers an area of about 28 sq. kms. This island is arguably one the most beautiful islands and is one of the closest to the Rhodes Island. The Halki island, is famous in all parts of the world known as ‘The Center of Peace & Friendship”. This island has a lot in common with the Rhodes, one of the primary similarities being the mountainous terrain of the island. Halki is close to the Kamiros port on the Rhodes island and is at a mere distance of about 3.5 nautical miles.
Although being so close to the Rhodes island, history has very little mention of the Halki island. The history of this small island can only be drawn and it would always be incomplete without the complementary reference to the Rhodes island. Centuries worth of historical changes have only remained as major con-incidences with events on the Rhodes island and the history of the Halki island seems to have been lost out somewhere down the past. During the more recent times, at the beginning of the 20th century, the island was under the Turkish rule which saw the most prosperous reign for this territory. With the change in governance, there was tremendous degrade in the life on this island until finally by the 1923, the entire island and a few surrounding islands were under complete Italian rule.
In the present times, the small island has just one settlement which is also called Halki. This settlement came into being during the early 19th century, which saw police boats completely eradicating the threat of piracy in this region and thereby giving a way for human settlements in the coastal regions. There is one village of Chorio, which was then the only settlement on the island. This settlement, however, gradually lost it’s way and has been deserted for over a century.
The feast of St. John of Alakara is the biggest feast on the island and is celebrated on the 29th of August. This festival is also a major destination for many pilgrims and serves as a cause for all Halkites, from around the globe, to gather in their native village for a celebration. All festivals on the island a very traditional in nature of celebration and has very bright colors that form a major part of decorations.
This island, although very beautiful in its own respect, is a bit far from the Rhodes island. Located roughly about 2 hours of boat ride away from the Island of Rhodes, this place is worth a visit if the time permits. The Symi island is known for the sponge diving and harbors with crystal clear waters. However, this island is the personification of a Greek Island that believes in keeping its cultural roots alive and maintains most of its traditional customs.
This island is now very thinly populated, however, it was once home for more than 22,000 people and was famous for its prosperity among the Dodecanese islands. Symi was famous for its boat building centers, sponge fishing and thereby was also a major commercial island. This island, like all others in the surrounding, is not very big and ranges of about a 100 odd sq. kms with Vigla which stands at approximately 600 mts which is the highest point on the island. The island had major geographical advantages like being surrounded by Turkey on three sides, proximity to the Asia minor region and a relatively sheltered location, which provided ideal breeding conditions for a prosperous island like the Symi. The island was pre-dominantly a part of the Ottoman empire, until the beginning of the 20th century where it was occupied by the Italians after the war with Turkey in 1912. During World War II both Allies and the Axis groups bombed the islands as it remained under the British Military occupation. After 1947, the island was finally incorporated in modern Greece until the present times.
There is a wide range of food available at the Island. This includes the famous Greek tavernas, which are more culture oriented, to the more modern cuisine. There are plenty of restaurants that serve only breakfast and have no other food options. There are self-catering living options which have the most basic of fittings to the more lavish setting of a barbeque. Most tourists also indulge in some small cooking lessons, which include ingredients from the local market and cooking fish that is brought in from the boat, just off the crystal clear waters.
The beaches of this island are simply picture perfect which gets couples to have this as the wedding venue. If there is enough time on hand, civil weddings can be arranged at the town hall, the venue for blessings – one perfect beach.