The Dodecansese islands Greece

dodecaneseDodecanese is the island complex in the South East Aegean in Greece, defined to the North by the island of Samos, Nothwest by the Cyclades, West by the Cretan Sea and East by Asia Minor. The Dodecanese consists of 18 large islands, many smaller and many rocky islets. The largest islands of the Dodecanese are: Rhodes, Kos, Karpathos, Kalymnos, Astypalea, Kasos, Tilos, Symi, Leros, Nisyros, Patmos, Kastellorizo, Halki, Lipsi, Agathonisi and Arkioi. The Prefecture of Dodecanese has an area of ​​2,705 sq. Km. And a population of 162,439 inhabitants. The capital is Rhodes. Administratively it is divided into four provinces: Kalymnos with its capital Kalymnos, Karpathos with its capital Karpathos, Kos with its capital Kos and Rhodes with its capital Rhodes. Due to their geographical location, they were subjected to destructive raids by the Persians, the Saracens, the Venetians, the Genoese, the Crusaders and the Turks (Seljuks and Ottomans). From 1309 they came under the rule of the Knights of St. John and remained under their rule until 1522, when they were occupied by the Ottoman Turks. With the beginning of the national liberation struggle of 1821, the Dodecanese revolted, but in 1830 they returned together with Samos to the Ottoman Empire, in exchange for Evia, which was incorporated into the free Greek state.


dodecaneseThe soil of the islands in the Dodecanese is barren and stony. 42% of the total area is flat, 26% semi-mountainous and 32% mountainous. Mountains: The center of Rhodes is covered by the mountain range of Ataviros(1,240 m.). In Kos there is the mountain range of Oromedon or Dikaios (875 m.), In Karpathos the mountain range of Kymaras (1,290 m.), In Kalymnos the mountains Profitis Ilias (752 m.) And Kyra Psili (650 m.), In Kasos Troupoulas ( 508 m.), In Tilos Ai-Lias (612 m.), In Symi Vigla (550 m.), In Leros the Key (350 m.) And in Patmos the Prophet Elia s (270 m.).
There are no rivers in the Dodecanese, although they have plenty of water in torrents and streams. Thermal Springs: Four of the islands have thermal springs. In Rhodes there is the spring of Kallithea, a cold source of sodium chloride with drinking water. In Kos there are the chlorodium hot springs of Agios Fokas and Rhodes. In Nisyros is the source of Mandraki, hot alipine and in Kalymnos the homogeneous alipine of Kalymnos.
The Dodecanese are volcanic and therefore have significant amounts of mineral wealth. In Rhodes there is gypsum, chromite and lignite, in Kos copper, iron, lead and lignite, in Nisyros sulfur and in Karpathos and Kasos gypsum.


Just as the islands are scattered and small, they do not present economic unity. Everyone has their own economy. In the larger ones the land is cultivated intensively. Their vegetable products are famous. A large part of the inhabitants of the islands are also involved in sponge fishing, which takes place both on their shores and on the coasts of North Africa. There are also small agricultural processing industries and tanneries. Tourism also plays a serious role in the economy of the prefecture. The islands have been properly utilized and are one of the best resorts in the Mediterranean.


dodecanese historyThe Dodecanese have been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. They were inhabited by Mycenaeans, Carians and Phoenicians and developed close relations with Crete during its heyday. In historical times they developed shipping and trade and flourished. They even established colonies in Lower Italy, Sicily and the coasts of Central Asia. In the 5th BC. ai. were conquered by the Persians and forced to fight against the Greeks. They were liberated at the end of the Persian Wars and became members of the Athenian Alliance.

In Byzantine times they were the Theme of the Islands. Due to their geographical location, they experienced many catastrophic raids. In the 14th ceentury AD. were granted to the Knights of St. John. Until the 15th century, when they were enslaved by the Turks.

The Dodecanese experienced economic and spiritual prosperity. During the Turkish occupation, they gained autonomy by paying only an annual tax. They were liberated from the Turks in 1912, when they were occupied by the Italians. They united with Greece after the end of World War II, with a treaty signed by Greece and Italy on February 10, 1947 and which was implemented in 1948.

On February 10, 1947, the Peace Treaty with Italy was signed in Paris, according to which the Dodecanese were ceded to Greece, while Italy was obliged to pay $ 105 million to Greece. At the insistence of the Soviet side, the text stated that the islands would remain demilitarized, a provision that Turkey would abusively invoke after 1974. From the Turkish interpretation of the text of the Greek-Italian Treaty of 1947, in conjunction with the 1932 Italian-Turkish agreements The issue of the “gray zones” raised by Ankara after the Imia Crisis in 1996 will also arise.

The handover ceremony of the Dodecanese to Greece by the British authorities took place on March 31, 1947 in Rhodes in a festive atmosphere. The first commander of the Dodecanese was taken over by Rear Admiral Pericles Ioannidis, with political advisor to the university and judge Michael Stasinopoulos, later President of the Hellenic Republic. The official ceremony of integration took place on March 7, 1948 and in 1955 the Dodecanese became a Greek prefecture with Rhodes as its capital.