The Greek Island of Rhodes: A Brief History

Rhodes Island, known for its medieval architecture and castles, is the 4th largest island of Greece and the largest of the Dodecanese Islands, located in the Aegean Sea. Rhodes has been inhabited since the Neolithic period (4000 B.C) and due to its size and location, it has been famous throughout history.


Rhodes Early History

During the Hellenistic Period (323BC – 33 BC), the island flourished economically and culturally. As one of the most organized and eminent periods of ancient times, the growth and expansion of the cities were immense. 

Rhodes Harbor

Rhodes History: 0 – 1500 A.D. 

A case in point was in 280 BC when the citizens built the monumental statue of the Greek sun-god Helios. It’s more widely known as the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World. It stood 33 meters tall and was made of polished brass but has collapsed during an earthquake in 292 BC. Unfortunately, it was never restored.


Another prime period of Rhodes was during the two centuries of the “Domination of the Knights” 1300-1522. They built and restored a hospital, a palace, several churches, and various castles. The Old Town of Rhodes still carries its medieval character with excellent examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

Depiction of Colossus of Rhodes

Rhodes History: 1500 – 2000 A.D. 

In 1522, the Ottoman Empire defeated the Knights and enslaved the island for 4 eons. After these 400 years, Italy occupied the island and they created a colony named “The Italian Islands of the Aegean”. Even though the inhabitants were Greeks for centuries, it wasn’t until 1947 that the island was reunited with modern-day Greece, due to the WW2 Peace Treaty. 


The Medieval Old City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. The unique traits of the island’s history, are still showing today, especially in architecture. The Palace of the Grand Master, the remaining buildings of the Order of the Knights, the Turkish Baths are some to name a few. 

Rhodes Today

Today, Rhodes Island is one of the top vacation destinations in Europe due to its uniqueness! Rhodes offers something for every taste; the cosmopolitan and traditional are blended into what locals call “life on Rhodes”. Whether it’s fine dining or going to a taverna; the taste of Rhodes is outstanding! Among other activities, some of the most popular are sailing, boat renting, scuba diving, exploring the ancient ruins, going for a 4×4 adventure, clubbing, and shopping.


Vacationing in Rhodes is equally great if you travel solo, with friends or if you are with the family. Make sure to take the time to meet with the locals outside of the tourist areas and get lost in the stories they love to share, sitting around the village tavernas!


With one of the busiest airports in Greece and innumerable ferries traveling to and from Rhodes, reaching the island is as easy as it gets!

Rhodes Beach

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Table of Contents

Looking for something in particular?

What is it Like to Live in Rethymno?

What is it like to live in Rethymno in Crete? We sat down with Stella, a local business owner and big fan of Rethymno Town, ...
Vai Palm Forest

The 8 Most Unique Beaches in Greece

Greece has thousands of islands and thousands of beaches. Which beaches in Greece are worth visiting? Which beaches in Greece are the most unique? Sarakiniko ...
Bachelor of Travel
BlogRegional Guides

Top Areas in Greece to Buy a Home: Rhodes (Feat. Rania)

Why should I buy a home in Rhodes? How does it rank compared to other destinations in Greece for me? In this article, we’ll take ...
Lefkes Town
BlogIn The News

Higher Budgets, Quicker Profits for Homes in Greece

More and more foreign investors are buying homes in Greece since the start of 2024. In fact, buyers are looking to buy more luxurious properties ...
Architecture in GreeceBlog

Ask an Architect: Which Greek Architecture Awards Matter?

What do all the certifications in design magazines mean? Are some awards better than others? Which awards should I pay attention to, and which are ...
Family Experiences Blog
BlogRegional Guides

Top Areas in Greece for the Dutch: Heraklion

Why should I buy a home in Heraklion if I am Dutch? How does it rank compared to other destinations in Greece for me? In ...

Compare Listings

Receive the latest news

Stay informed on the latests market insights, updates, tips and more

We’ll send you our best articles, expert insights and newest listings.​