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Rhodes or Rodi or Rodos, well known since the Roman era whose emperor, Tiberio, wanted to exploit its beauty and strategical position by competing with Capri island

Article by Paolo Venanzangeli

Translation by Claudio Di Stefano


Boat rental in Greece Eastern Mediterranean, under Ulysses' shadow Greece, sailing the Ulysses' sea Rhodes, the touristic colossus Climate averages METEOMED™
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Nautica Magazine 412, August 1996



Lying at the border between east and west of the then known world, the island has absorbed everything from both, trough a mixture of civilizations that have conquered it : from the Roman to the Byzantine to the Turkish, the Arab and finally the Venetian.

The Italian colonial influence, whose interests once stretched to the Asian threshold, should also not be discounted. This latter one stands prominently in the eyes of today's visitors.

Here more than everywhere else, the old Greek saying "Greeks and Italians: same face, same race" is the case in point: Italians are welcome and may even run into the elders who, out of courtesy, will try to speak Italian, a language learnt many ears ago. All this has helped Rodi to become one of the most open islands to tourism and the richest of the dodecanese archipelago.

Rhodes This is nothing new to Rodi considered, since the ancient times, the commercial door to the orient and its inhabitants built the renowned colossus: a thirty-two meters high bronze statue that was considered one of the seven wonders, placed astride the Mandraki port entrance. Charis' masterpiece was unfortunately short lived: an earthquake broke it at knee length in the year 200 B.C. and remained underwater until, eighty years latter, a Jewish merchant refloated and regrounded it; the bronze remnants were melted and moved away.

Rodi island remained a financial and maritime power until the year 43 B.C. when emperor Cassio conquered and destroyed it. Rodi's maritime code, accepted worldwide, was incorporated within the venetian and subsequently transmitted to the modern era maritime law. During the Roman rule many artists elected Rodi as their home ground who beautified it with many architectural works and statues: Plinio counted more than two-thousand of them; most of it, however, was destroyed by Bruto.

In time, Byzzantinians were replaced by the Saracens who, again, sacked the island. Old golden times were restored by the Venetian and later the Genovese republic, followed by the St., John cavaliers who, after becoming the only rulers, built a fortified castle and set up a whole fleet consisting of fast galleys with which they run the Turkish coast and attacked the local coastal trade. Several other surrounding islands were fortified that later were able to resist long sieges until Solimano , with a hundred- thousand strong army, got the best of six-hundred cavaliers and twelve-hundred allies who surrendered after obtaining military honors. The cavaliers later went to Malta island where they established the world renowned over. In a way, Rodi can be compared to Rome where, everywhere you dig, an important historical finding is bought back to life.

Clean and tidy houses, especially at Lindos, display a characteristic sober, white and square architecture ornate with late Byzantine ornaments. Although built in the 6th century they all are spacious and comfortable. Renting is possible. Inland visiting is recommended: the typical local atmosphere, so dear to the vacationers over the years, can not be overlooked. The mild Mediterranean climate allows for an agriculture rich in flavors, typical of the local food. When visiting, the important Laerma monastery and Skiadi in "evil territory" can not be overlooked.

Rhodes Mandraki, the capital's port, is naturally the most important one: this is where the colossus was erected and the cavaliers used it as their home port. Land falling from west and north, the town is conspicuous as it stand on a lowland. Steer well clear of Zonari cape due to shallow water and a reef which protects the harbor's entrance. Mandraki inlet, where pleasure crafts have their berthing, is conspicuous and easily identified due to a lighthouse standing on a small fort, a cupola, a belltower and three windmills which, all together form the harbor eastern side. Almost always crowded, this marina reserve the eastern dock to charter crafts and arriving crafts more often than not, have to double bank in multiple rows. A muddy bottom offers good holding ground and mooring is safe. Boats trying to avoid the excessively crowded area, moor on the outside of the breakwater. They should however note that the continuous ferries' transit causes surging in spite of having the mooring lines fast an shore. To offset the excessive crowding, one can find almost everything including a good boatyard with hauling crane up to 40 tons.

The noisy and chaotic town is divided in two: the old part is sheltered by the walls built by the cavaliers, while the new one is almost entirely Italian together with the most criticized towers, walls and castles whose restoration is reputed to be too bizarre.

With fresh "Meltemi" (a local wind) it is easy to get strong gusts, sailing to Lindos; when course is reversed it is convenient leaving early in the morning and take advantage when the wind die down.

Lindos' castle is conspicuous from off-shore, at night time as well. The sandy bottom provides a good holding ground; the cove is open to the east and with a strong "Meltemi" frequent gusts occur.

The beautiful time is what is left of the ancient island capitol, prior to Rodi settlement, and there are continuous tourists tours.

The southernmost island point is called Prano Lisi cape and is connected to the main land by a lowland, so that from a distance it seems an island.

A good shelter can be found on the northern island side with water depth up to four meters, sandy, holding good.

The eastern coast offers alternative shelters, i.e.: Vigli cape, Istros cape and Lardos bay all of them excellent against the "Meltemi" wind.

To the north, as an alternative to Mandraki or when entrance to the harbor may be hazardous due to south or southwesterly winds, Trianda cove with sandy bottom and good holding ground, offers a safe anchorage.

On the western coast Lagonia bay, one mile from Kopria cape, provides a good shelter from west and south. The bay is also the starting point going to the nearby Khalkia island. This latter place, together with Alminia island, offers easy sailing and the chance to visit a picturesque and lovely spot. The former is inhabited; however, has a bottom with poor holding ground and southern winds develop strong swells. Far better conditions are offered at Alminia, which is sheltered to all winds, with a sandy algae bottom and very good holding ground. Although there are several houses and a fort, the island is uninhabited.

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