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Rhodes Greek: Rodos; Italian: Rodi; German: Rhodos; is a Greek island situated in the south-eastern Aegean Sea, on the borders between two worlds, east and west. Which sealed the islands fate of a troubled but extremely interesting history, thanks to its great potential as the commercial crossroads of three continents, namely Europe, Asia and Africa.
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands - and also capital of the Dodecanese prefecture -with an area of approximately 1400 m2, a maximum length of 80 km, a maximum width of 38 km and a coastline of approximately 220km. It has a population of 120,000 with 30,000 residing in Rhodes Town itself and the remainder in the 44 villages around the island.
The majority of the terrain is mountainous on the island, with limited plains, unlike most of the other Aegean islands. The highest mountain is Atavyros at 1,215m above sea level followed by by Akramytis 825m and Profitis Ilias 798m. The coastlines of Rhodes alternate between the gentle shores of the east and the sheer rocky promontories, headlands and pebble beaches of the west.
The island has a mild climate and is rich in vegetation, thanks to the exceptionally high number of hours of sunshine it receives and to its humidity. As a result the island is a particularly pleasant place to reside and the rewards for the toils of the farmer are relatively good. The few rains that fall, mainly during the winter months, do not detract from the agreeable climate and the summer heat is often cooled by a refreshing, often strong, breeze.
Forests of pine and cypress cover 37% of the islands territory thus Rhodes is also known as the 'Emerald Island'. The forests are home to a type of deer called the 'Platoni' -scientific term 'Dama-Dama' -which are very rare in Greece. It is the emblem of the island and it is a protected/endangered species.
Rhodes is one of the most popular and well developed holiday destinations in the Mediterranean attracting tourists arriving with charter flights, cruise ships and private yachts. Tourism is the primary source of income which accounts for ~75% of the total island's economy. Small industries process imported raw materials for local retail. Other industry includes agricultural goods production, stockbreeding, fishery, dairy products and winery.
Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
In 1998 the medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes - with aprox.6,000 inhabitants - has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.