Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rhodes, Greece November 14, 2009

We docked in Rhodes (Rodos) Greek islands, at 8 AM after leaving Ephesus yesterday at 5 PM.

There is not much to write about our experience here. We took a few pics from the ship and as we walked around Rhodes Town. We did not take a shore excursion, but we enjoyed walking to town and around the narrow streets and visiting the little shops there.

We spent the afternoon sitting on various decks and enjoying the views. Each of us (sometimes together, sometimes not) read, dozed, walked, ate and drank, and relaxed as we felt like it.

Tonight I went down to the main deck, sat in the Explorers Lounge and listened to a group called "Amante" perform popular music while passengers danced. I enjoyed watching the dancers and listening to the music. Later there was a karaoke hour in the same lounge, so I stayed for that as well. The singers, with the exception of one or two, were just as good as the professionals. Actually, I'd say this karoke hour was among the best of the entertainment we've had on this cruise.

Following is the information I gathered before we embarked on this trip:

Average Temp in November 57-67F Rhodes is one of the best known Greek islands. It has been thoroughly "touristized" but still retains some "Greekness." Many locals are involved with tourism, but there are also a lot of farmers on the island. They grow grapes and keep goats. There is also a large military base on the island.

Rhodes History:
According to mythology, the sun-god Helios fell in love with the nymph Rhodes, and when he shone his light on her, she transformed into the island. The name means "rose" and the island has been known since antiquity as a flowery place. The ancient Greeks used to call Rhodes "the Island of Sun" because of its patron god, and other names that the island has had are Ofioussa ("Snake island"), Asteria ("Star island"), Makaria ("Beauty") and Ataviros (its highest mountain).

The first inhabitants were probably the Minonans, Cretans, followed by Dorians at the end of the 2nd Millennium BC. The first inhabitants probably called the island Telchinia. Rhodes was soon to become one of the most powerful islands with its strong military and commercial fleet. Initially, the island was forced to fight the Greeks along the Persian side during the Persian Wars in the 5th century BC, but managed to break free and became a member of the Athenian League. The island kept flourishing and had an important school for scientists and philosophers.
During the Classic period the Colossus of Rhodes was built. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and we only know of its existence through ancient literature and coins. It was a statue of the sun-god Helios, about 35 meters high, standing with one foot on each side of the harbour of Lindos. After an earthquake it fell apart, but when the people on Rhodes wanted to rebuild it, an oracle told them not to. So it lay in the harbour for hundreds of years until the Turks took it.

The Romans conquered Greece in the 2nd century BC. This, and the following Byzantine era, was to be a period of decline. Pirates, as well as Saracens and Arabs, kept attacking, and the Venetians occupied the island in the 11th century, followed by crusaders and Genovans, and finally the Turks in the 16th century. The most famous period was when the Knights of the Order of St. John ruled here, since there are still several buildings from this time. Rhodes is even referred to as the "Island of the Knights" sometimes. They came in 1309 and stayed until the Turks invaded in 1522. In 1912 Rhodes was given to Italy, and liberated in 1948.

What to See in Rhodes:
  • The capital, Rodos - a very beautiful town, containing (1)the harbour of Mandraki - Two famous bronze deer stand where the colossus of Rhodes once was (2) the castle of the Grand Master, (3) the road of the Knights - It was built upon an ancient street that dates to 408 BC. it leads to the (4)Palace of the Grand Masters, begun in the early 14th century, the palace was destroyed in 1856 and rebuilt in 1939. I contains ancient mosaics from the island of Kos and a monumental marble staircase (5) Castle of the Knights.

  • The white town Lindos is well worth visiting. The acropolis here was only surpassed by the acropolis of Athens, and you can still see its ruins.

  • The healing baths of Kallithea are on the Eastern side of the island.

  • Kamiros - On the West side of the island there are several picturesque villages. If you like ancient history the "Pompey of Greece" is definitely a place to go.

  • The monastery of Filerimos is also a place worth a visit.

  • The Valley of Butterflies (Petaludes) is full of butterflies

  • Anthony Quinn Bay - This is where The Guns of Navarone was filmed.

  • Rhodes's Acropolis - The Acropolis of Lindos - From here you can to see one of the centers of the ancient Greek civilization including the remains of the 4th-century B.C. Doric Temple of Athena Lindia and the fortifications of the Knights of St. John. Below the Acropolis, you will see the clustered, old whitewashed houses and narrow streets of Lindos, a popular haunt of artists and writers. Monte Smith - A British admiral lent his name to Rhodes Town's old Acropolis. You will be able to view in its entire splendor the unforgettable sight of the town of Rhodes and the protective walls that still surround it.St. Paul's Bay - The beautiful, tranquil bay on the reverse side of Lindos where St. Paul is believed to have sought shelter during a storm.

  • Mt. Philerimos and the Church of Our Lady - This plateau rising 1,000-feet above the sea offers superb views of the surrounding valleys, Mt. Philerimos is crowned by the Church of Our Lady, which was built on the ancient Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Athena and over early Christian catacombs. The unique barrel-vaulted Chapel of St. George dates from the 15th century.

  • Marine Gate - The most beautiful and picturesque of the Gates that lead into the Old Town. Its unique feature is the two semicircular towers, which guard the gate.

  • Mandraki Harbor - Believed to be the place where the Colossus of Rhodes stood straddling the ancient harbor; one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today on each side there, atop two columns statues of a male and female deer.

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