Whitewashed walls, deep blue sky, olive groves, fig trees, azure Aegean waters...the heavenly Dodecanese Islands have all this and more. In this diverse group of islands you can experience the traditional life without the tourist trappings.
The Dodecanese (Greek: Δωδεκάνησα (Dodekánisa), meaning "twelve islands") are a group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, off the southwest coast of Turkey.
They have a rich history, and many of even the smallest inhabited islands boast dozens of Byzantine churches and medieval castles.
The administrative region consists of 163 total islands of which 26 are inhabited. Twelve major ones lend their name to the chain. The most historically important and well-known are Rhodes (Rhodos) and Kos ( cos ) the other ten are Astypalea, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kassos, Kastellorizo, Leros, Nissyros, Patmos, Symi, and Tilos.
Other notable islands in the chain include Agathonisi, Chalki, Lipsi, Pserimos, and Telendos.
The Dodecanese have been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the oldest historic period, they formed part of the Minoan civilization for several millennia. Following the downfall of the Minoans, the islands were ruled by the Achaeans from circa 1400 BC, until the arrival of the Dorians circa 1100 BC. It is in the Dorian period that they began to prosper as an independent entity, developing a thriving economy and culture through the following centuries. By the early Archaic Period Rhodes and Kos emerged as the major islands in the group.
HIPPOCRATES OF KOS was a Greek physician born in 460 BC on the island of Kos, Greece. He became known as the founder of medicine and was regarded as the greatest physician of his time. He based his medical practice on observations and on the study of the human body. He held the belief that illness had a physical and a rational explanation. He rejected the views of his time that considered illness to be caused by superstitions and by possession of evil spirits and disfavor of the gods.
Hippocrates held the belief that the body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts. He accurately described disease symptoms and was the first physician to accurately describe the symptoms of pneumonia, as well as epilepsy in children. He believed in the natural healing process of rest, a good diet, fresh air and cleanliness. He noted that there were individual differences in the severity of disease symptoms and that some individuals were better able to cope with their disease and illness than others. He was also the first physician that held the belief that thoughts, ideas, and feelings come from the brain and not the heart as others of him time believed.
Hippocrates traveled throughout Greece practicing his medicine. He founded a medical school on the island of Cos, Greece and began teaching his ideas. He soon developed an Oath of Medical Ethics for physicians to follow. This Oath is taken by physicians today as they begin their medical practice. He died in 377 BC. Today Hippocrates is known as the "Father of Medicine".
The Colossus of Rhodes was a huge statue of the god Helios, erected on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos in the 3rd century BC. It was roughly the same size as the Statue of Liberty in New York, although it stood on a lower platform. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.The Colussus of Rhodes probably did not stand astride the harbor entrance as shown hereWhen Alexander the Great died at an early age he had not had time to put into place any plans for succession. Fights broke out between his generals, the "Diadochi", with three of them eventually dividing up much of the empire in the Mediterranean area.
During the fighting Rhodes had sided with Ptolemy, and when Ptolemy eventually took control of Egypt, they formed an alliance which controlled much of the trade in the eastern Mediterranean.
The early Byzantine era saw the islands prosper, but by the 7th century they were plundered by a string of invaders. The early 14th century was the turn of the crusaders - the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, a religious order of the church of Rome founded in Amalfi in the 11th century. Through some wheeling and dealing with Rhodes Genoese admiral they became the possessors of the island, transforming it into a mighty bulwark that stood at the easternmost point of the Christian west, safeguarding it from the Muslim infidels of the east. The Knights may have had God on their side but it wasn't enough to keep out Süleyman the Magnificent and his troops, who in 1522 finally overthrew them after a long siege.Four hundred years after their takeover, in 1912, the Ottomans in turn were ousted by the Italians during a tussle over possession of Libya. Inspired by Mussolini's vision of a vast Mediterranean empire, the islands' new rulers made Italian the official language and prohibited the practice of Orthodoxy. The Italians also constructed grandiose public buildings in the Fascist style, the antithesis of archetypal Greek architecture. More beneficially, they excavated and restored many archaelogical monuments. After the Italian surrender of 1943 the islands became battlegrounds for British and German forces, with much suffering inflicted on the local population. In 1947 the Dodecanese were formally returned to Greece.