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Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese (the name translates as "twelve islands"), draws more visitors than most other Greek islands. Its capital, Rhodes Town, offers an enduring blend of history and architecture, and the island's interior is filled with lushly forested hills. To the south, Lindos, one of the most stunning villages in all of Greece, is watched over by a picture-perfect ancient ruin on the hill above.
The island owes its rich history to a good climate and a strategically valuable position between Asia and Europe. Adding to this is a fine natural port where its former main attraction, an immense statue of the sun god Helios—the Colossus of Rhodes—once stood. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the statue made Rhodes a must-visit destination for ancient world travelers until it collapsed in an earthquake in 226 B.C.E. Even the statue’s ruins were grand enough to bring curious travelers to Rhodes for another 800 years until the metal pieces were melted and sold off by an occupying army.
Though many civilizations have left their mark on Rhodes, its independent spirit has endured and the island has managed to retain its natural beauty, from the mountain heights down to the gorgeous beaches and coves.