Rhodes a.k.a Rodos in Turkish is the largest of the Dodecanese, and one of the easternmost of the islands of Greece. The spearhead shaped island lies only 11 miles off trhe coast Turkey. Its population in 2004 was estimated at 130,000, of which between 56,000 and 60,000 resided permanently in the city of Rhodes, the main commercial and population center. Rhodes is the capital of the District of the Dodecanese and of the Province of Rhodes, which also includes the nearby islands of Symi, Tilos, Halki and Kastellorizo.
Rhodes was colonized by Dorians from Argos before 1000 B.C., and their civilization was influenced by the Minoan culture of Crete. They called it "the Island of Sun" because of their patron god was Helios. In Greek myth, Helios fell in love with the nymph Rhodes. Other names for the island included Ofioussa ("snake island"), Asteria ("star island"), Makaria ("beauty") and Ataviria (after its highest mountain).
The ancient port city of Rhodes was known for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a massive statue that stood at the entrance to the harbor of the city of Rhodes. Today the beautiful city of Rhodes, with its Medieval, Venetian, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, is a World Heritage Site.