Monday, July 30, 2007

Day 4: Rhodes, Greece

We arrived at Rhodes, Greece on day 4 of our European cruise with Carnival Freedom. Rhodes is situated between mainland Greece and the island country of Cyprus. And as some of you may know, it was once home to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Colossus was a giant statue overseeing Rhodes’ main harbor. It was roughly 75% of the size of the Statue of Liberty, which in itself was an engineering feat back in ancient times. It took about 12 years to build, spanning from 292-280 B.C. The statue was dedicated to the Greek (false) god Helios. At 224 B.C., it was destroyed by an earthquake.

An artist depiction of what the statue looked like can be seen below. I’ve also included a picture of what the harbor looks like now.

A dutch artist named Heemskerck made this drawing based on ancient descriptions.

You can see from my harbor picture why tourists flock to Rhodes, Greece. This was taken on the highest deck.

One of the biggest attractions in Rhodes is the acropolis. The acropolis sits at an intimidating height overlooking the small town of Lindos. The first structure built on the acropolis was the Doric Temple of Athena Lindia, dated around 300 B.C. In the 14th century, it was fortified by the Knights of St John.

So Much History…
Rhodes is a spectacular place for historical reasons. Because of its geographical advantages, the island was an important commercial and military center of the Greek and Byzantine empires. It was repeatedly attacked by the Romans, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Ottomans, and even the Italians over the eons…and each time, Rhodes was able to rebuild itself as an important player in the Mediterranean.

No surprise attacks here! The acropolis, on one of the highest points of the island, has an excellent view of the beautiful harbor. Defenders had the first hand against oncoming attackers.

In the Roman period, the Apostle Paul went to Rhodes. According to the New Testament book of Acts, chapter 21, it was one of the places he stopped by while he was in Greece. While there were no other details added in the Bible on what happened with that trip, we can see the fruits of his work by the fact that the majority of the inhabitants are Christians, tracing their religious heritage all the way back to the Roman period. This is despite the fact that the Ottoman Turks ruled Rhodes for almost four centuries.

Before Paul’s trip, Rhodes used to worship pagan false gods. This temple was the Temple of Athena Lindia, one of the oldest structures on the acropolis.

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