dodecanese

Dodecanese islands holiday guide

Dodecanese 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.

Geography

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.

Economy

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.

History

dodecanese historyHaving suffered a turbulent history at the hands of various invaders, these days the Dodecanese happily embrace the seasonal arrival of international tourists who come here to enjoy the islands’ hot climate, beautiful beaches and spectacular historic sites.

The 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.

Holidays in the Dodecanese

karpathosThe Dodecanese Islands hug the coast of Turkey in the far south east corner of the Aegean Sea. Dodecka means 12 in Greek and refers to the group of islands which was granted special privileges for willingly submitting to the Turkish sultans who held sway here for centuries. In fact there are 32 islands in total – 18 of which are uninhabited.

One of the largest and most diverse groups of islands in Greece, the Dodecanese offer the traveler a special view of the Greek summer. From the atmospheric Chora of Patmos and that of Astypalea to the rising neoclassical states of Symi, Agathonisi and Kastelorizo ​​and from the vast beaches and archeological sites of Rhodes and Kos to the unspoiled landscapes of Karpathos and Nisyros, every visitor he can find the type of vacation that suits him.

Fans of the beach, lovers of luxury and nightlife and families usually choose the largest and most developed tourist islands, such as Rhodes. Couples, sophisticated and young groups looking for the different have made Symi, Tilos and Nissyros their hangout.

dodecaneseArchaeologists will find interesting monuments that testify to the rich history of the islands: citadels of antiquity, medieval cities and interwar monuments-legacies of the Italian occupation.

The hotel infrastructure follows the style of the holidays of each island: luxury resorts, spas and family hotels in Rhodes and Kos, atmospheric hostels in old houses in Kastelorizo, Symi or Astypalea.

Although the connections between them are not ideal for island hopping, there are many who choose to share their vacation on two or three different islands, usually combining one of the big ones with some smaller satellites, like Rhodes with Halki , Symi or Kastelorizo ​​and Kos with Nisyros, Tilos or Lipsi.

What are the lasrgest of the Dodecanese islands

Rhodes is the capital of the archipelago – by far the biggest island in the group with good air and sea links to the other islands, Athens, Turkey, Cyprus and Israel. Rhodes and Kos both have international airports with regular charter flights to and from the UK and other European destinations. If you’re planning an island-hopping tour of the Dodecanese your best bet is to fly into one of the main islands then rely on ferries or hydrofoils to take you the rest of the way.

Holidays in the Dodecanese

holidaysYour holiday here can be whatever you want it to be. The islands offer ancient walking trails, awe-inspiring archaeological sites, some of the holiest places of pilgrimage in Greece and magnificent medieval castles.

You’ll also find some of the liveliest nightlife in Europe – it’s been said that Rhodes has more bars and discos per person than New York, Paris or Berlin. And the frantic frolicking at the island’s top seaside resort of Faliraki has attracted international media attention on more than one occasion.

Kos, the second largest island in the group, can give Rhodes a run for its money when it comes to serious partying. Besides hardened revellers, the island also attracts hordes of visitors to the medical school and sanctuary built in the 4th century BC after the death of Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine who was born on the island.

Attractions

One of the archipelago’s top tourist attractions is the magnificent Monastery of St John on the “holy island” of Patmos where the apostle compiled the Book of Revelation, the last book of the bible. You can visit the Cave of the Apocalypse where St John “The Divine” is said to have received a series of visions and heard the word of God through a cleft in the rock.

Unspoiled Dodecanese islands

lipsi dodecaneseThose thirsting for a taste of the “real Greece ” will find some lovely unspoilt corners mercifully unscathed by the ravages of mass tourism. The rugged mountains of Karpathos conceal delightful villages where age-old customs are fiercely preserved. The local women dress in traditional costumes, grind their corn in the local windmills and bake bread in outdoor communal ovens.

Kalymnos offers mountainous scenery interspersed with fertile valleys, some of the finest fresh fish tavernas in the Aegean and lovely unspoilt beaches, some of which can only be accessed by boat.

An increasing number of foreign travellers are starting to discover the many delights of Leros which boasts good beaches and tourist facilities whilst still retaining its essentially Greek character. But most package holidaymakers by-pass the small islands of Symi, Lipsi and Tilos which appeal to hikers, nature lovers and those who simply want to relax on an uncrowded beach.

Tilos
Tilos
Symi
Symi
Rhodes
Rhodes
patmos
Patmos
Leros
Leros
Kos
Kos
kastelorizo
Kastelorizo
Kasos
Kasos
Karpathos
Karpathos
astypalea
Astypalea
Tilos
Tilos
Symi
Symi