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Rhodes (GreekΡόδοςRódos [ˈroðos]) is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of land area and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within theRhodes regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes.[2] The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. It is located northeast ofCrete, southeast of Athens and just off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. Rhodes' nickname is The island of the Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who once conquered the land.[3]

Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient WorldThe Medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.[4][5][6][7]

 

The island was populated by ethnic groups from the surrounding nations, including Jews. Under Ottoman rule, they generally did fairly well, but discrimination and bigotry occasionally arose. In February 1840, the Jews of Rhodes were falsely accused of ritually murdering a Christian boy. This became known as the Rhodes blood libel.

Austria opened a post-office at RHODUS (Venetian name) before 1864,[30] as witnessed by stamps with Franz-Josef head.

In 1912, Italy seized Rhodes from the Turks during the Italo-Turkish War. The island's population thus bypassed many of the events associated with the "exchange of the minorities" between Greece andTurkey. After World War I, the island, together with the rest of the Dodecanese, was officially assigned to Italy in the Treaty of Lausanne. It then became the core of their possession of the Isole Italiane dell'Egeo.

Following the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943, the British attempted to get the Italian garrison on Rhodes to change sides. This was anticipated by the German Army, which succeeded in occupying the island with the Battle of Rhodes. In great measure, the German occupation caused the British failure in the subsequent Dodecanese Campaign.

The Turkish Consul Selahattin Ülkümen succeeded, at considerable risk to himself and his family, in saving 42 Jewish families, about 200 persons in total, who had Turkish citizenship or were members of Turkish citizens' families.

On 8 May 1945 the Germans under Otto Wagener surrendered Rhodes as well as the Dodecanese as a whole to the British, who soon after then occupied the islands as a military protectorate.

In 1947, Rhodes, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese, was united with Greece.

In 1949, Rhodes was the venue for negotiations between Israel and EgyptJordanLebanon, and Syria, concluding with the 1949 Armistice Agreements.  

The Colossus of Rhodes was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This giant bronze statue was documented as once standing at the harbour. It was completed in 280 BC and destroyed in anearthquake in 224 BC. No trace of the statue remains today.

Historical sites on the island of Rhodes include the Acropolis of Lindos, the Acropolis of Rhodes with the Temple of Pythian Apollo and an ancient theatre and stadium,[31] ancient Ialysos, ancient Kamiros, the Governor's Palace,Rhodes Old Town (walled medieval city), the Palace of the Grand MastersKahal Shalom Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, the Archeological Museum, the ruins of the castle of Monolithos, the castle of KritiniaSt. Catherine Hospice and Rhodes Footbridge.

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