Fast Facts

  • Location: At the mouth of Mandraki harbor on the northern coast of Rhodes island
  • Best time to Visit: Throughout the year
  • Preferred timings: Daytime
  • How to reach: By flight from Athens and thereafter by road in bus, cars or taxis
  • Nearest International Airport: Rhodes airport
  • The time required for sightseeing: 2 days

History and Significance:

It stood astride the harbor, all over a hundred feet of it in solid bronze, overlooking the high seas with the poise of a god that it was and bearing testimony to the bravery of a small island nation that braved the attacks of a stronger enemy — the Colossus of Rhodes. Standing in impeccable pride, it dared man nature in an attitude of defiance, till nature struck back. After about sixty years of existence, an earthquake brought an end to one of the most magnificent wonders of the ancient world.

The Colossus of Rhodes stood at the confluence of the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea off the southwestern coast of Asia Minor. The inhabitants of Rhode Island constructed this giant statue as a mark of freedom, similar to the Statue of Liberty which everyone is familiar with. It stood 110 feet from toe to crown as compared to 120 feet high Statue of Liberty.

The Island of Rhodes, because of its strategic location and a natural harbor, developed into an important trade island around 5th century B.C.E. The capital city also named Rhodes established at about 408 B.C. emerged as an important economic center and port. The prosperity of Rhodes instigated Mausolus of Halicarnassus to invade and conquer this island in 357 B.C. Subsequently it was annexed by the Persians in 340 B.C. and thereafter by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. After his death, his empire was divided between his generals Ptolemy, Antigonus, and Seleucus, with the Rhodians supporting Ptolemy. This angered Antigonus who sent his son Demetrius in war with Ptolemy. After a series of wars and with a considerably smaller army the Rhodians were successful in fending off Demetrius.

As a mark of victory, the inhabitants of Rhodes under the guidance of sculptor Chares of Lindos sculpted the Colossus of Rhodes to celebrate their victory over Demetrius. The bronze from the armaments and weaponry left behind by Demetrius’ army and iron were used to build this statue. 15 tons of bronze in the form of plates and 9 tons of iron were used for the construction of this plate over iron framework statue.

Constructed in the model of Helois, it stood naked with the right handheld over his head shading his eyes from the sun and his left hand holding a cloak. The Colossus with a spiked crown stood at the head of the island on a pedestal 50 feet high. The statue completed at around 300 B.C. after 12 years, collapsed after about 56 years because of a disastrous earthquake. The remains lay in the harbor for many centuries and were ultimately carried away by the Arabians in seventh century A.D.

It is a pity that this mammoth human creation no longer remains. Delve in Rhodes’ mesmerizing landscape of rocky coastline and forested interiors. The idle villages along the coast and at the foothills are perfect getaways from the hustle and bustle of European cities. Spend a couple of hours in the Faliraki or Pefki sea beaches overlooking the azure blue waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Indulge yourself in wind and kite surfing, sailing and diving. In case you want to stay away from water, go mountain hiking and exploring the island. Explore the Seven Springs between Columbia and Archipolis, or the Valley of Butterflies located in northern Rhodes. Discover the Acropolis of Lindos of Hellenistic period, the Medieval Town, and the archeological site of ancient Kamiros.

While visiting Rhodes never fail to try squids with rice, and red liver recipes.

Related Links : Find the real story behind the destruction of one of the most ambitious of man’s work in the ancient world in this informative video! Find out more about the facts related to the Colossus of Rhodes in this video. Find out the narrow streets, the rugged landscape and the old world charm of Rhodes Island in this short and beautiful travel video.

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