Rhodes, Chevalier Island

The biggest one of the Twelwe Islands Achipelago, Rhodes, is also known as the “Chevalier Island”. The center has a 55.000 population while the island has 130.000. The closest point of Turkish coast to Rhodes is the Bozburun peninsula. It is 18 kms between them. The easiest way to get to the island from Turkey is to take the catamarane from Marmaris. It takes about an hour and there are runs done everyday in summer.

You can see the trace of Ottoman era as you get closer to the island. The minarets are the most obvious evidence of that. Rhodes is a 80 km long, 38 km wide island that is surrounded by ramparts. The castle of the Rhodes city that is built by the Templar Knights, and its quarter left from the Middle Ages are in the World Heritages List of Unesco.

Tourism is a very important source of income in this 330 day sunny island. Turkey can be seen from the island.

The deer statue that is located at the Mandraki port at Rhodes entrance is on the point of the previous Rhodes statue. It became the symbol of Rhodes.

Even if the Rhodes Statue (Kolossos) is no longer here, it is one of the Seven Wonders Of The World. Rhodes Statue had had built by Dorlar in 280 BC, at the entrance of the port.

It was made out of the bronze tool and weapon leftovers from the unsuccesful Rhodes siege in 304 BC. Rhodes Statue was a sign of land for the sailors from 280 to 255 BC.

The 32 meter high Rhodes Statue made by the sculptor Khares of Lindos, portrays the Greek Sun God, Helios. This gigantic bronze statue had been located at the entrance of the Rhodes port. Even if it is believed that, ships were passing between the legs of the statue, it was not possible to make a statue like that in that time, with the techniques and tools they had. It is told that, you could go up to light up the torch in the hand of the statue, by using the stairs that started from the inside of its feet. The statue represented the idea of unity for the people of Rhodes.

The statue was demolished in an earthquake in 225 or 226 BC, and it was left lying sideways for a couple of centuries.

Almost for 1000 years, the statue was a ruin. In 654, Arabs invaded Rhodes and sold the leftovers of the statue to a Syrian Jew. Today, a deer statue was built in place of it in the memory of it.

Hippocrates Square, also known as Shadirwan Square, is one of the most important statues of Rhodes. A shadirwan in the middle, and little cafes and shops surrounding it. It is a lot of fun to watch the liveliness around while sitting in those cafes.

After Suleyman the Magnificent took Rhodes, the island stayed under the control of Ottomans for 390 years. In this period, the Ottomans had built a lot of artifacts. With its mosques, fountains, old historical houses, narrow and cobbled streets, Rhodes is worth seeing.

Some of the Ottoman originated buildings are, the clock tower built by Admiral Fethi, Ağa Mosque and fountain, Hafız Ahmet Ağa Library… There are 2.500 books in the library, 1.100 of them are handwritten. There are gold foiled Qurans and religious deeds on display.

When you come to Socrates Street (The Long Bazaar), you find yourself in between many shops that sell trinkets, armor, swords and such. You encounter many Rhodian Turks while you are walking around here. The Turks that live in the island, are mostly located around the area that is in between the airport and Rhodes city. There is a Turkish minority of 3.500 people. Other Turks mostly left Rhodes and immigrated to Turkey, mostly to İzmir. Because the assimilation works have fastened after 1972-1973. All the Turkish schools were shut down in the island. One of them is the Süleymaniye Madrasah that have been left from the Ottoman period. There was Turkish education going on here until 1972. Many Ottoman buildings and artifacts are waiting to be restored. Some of them are Süleymaniye Madrasah, Murat Reis Mosque and Social Complex.

Today, Sultan Mustafa Mosque is used as a wedding hall. Sultan Mustafa Turkish bath on the other hand, is still in use. Only the Ibrahim Pasha Mosque is open in the island.

Lindos city that is 45 kms away from Rhodes on the Rhodes Island is also a center of attention for tourists with its historical ruins and magnificent bay.

You can get up to the castle at the top of the city with stairs if you want. But if you don’t want to climb all those stairs, you can get to the top within 5 minutes on a donkey. You can record the magnificent views from the ramparts  in your memory or your camera. The historical castle and the fascinating bay here, gets a lot of attention from tourists.

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HÜSEYİN YILMAZ

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HÜSEYİN YILMAZ

 1942 Sinop Ayancık doğumluyum. Cerrahpaşa Tıp Fakültesi mezunuyum. Mecburi hizmet nedeni ile Hakkari, Yüksekova, Siirt’te görev yaptım.