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The biggest island of the Dodecanese (Twelve Islands), Rhodes lies at the southeastern corner of the Aegean, about 11 miles from Turkey. The City of Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese Prefecture, and this is where most of the island’s residents live. More than 100,000 people live on the island, and about 60,000 of the population are in the city. The island is divided into 10 municipalities, and these include the Municipality of Rhodes, Ialysos, Kalithea, Petaloudes, Kamiros, Attavyros, Souther Rhodes, Afandou, Archangelou and Lindos.
The City of Rhodes is actually divided into two parts, the Old City or Medieval City and the New City. The old is surrounded by strong imposing walls, and today it is among the largest and most well-preserved medieval settlements in Europe. The Medieval City offers a testament to the island’s past, and is home to the stunning Palace of the Grand Master.
The New City of Rhodes was constructed outside the city walls, and most of the buildings in this part of the town date from the Italian rule (1912-1944), and the style is neo-Gothic and Venetian. The city has a charming quality as a result and this is where many of the luxurious hotels are located, as well as cafes, shops and restaurants.
The village of Lindos, to the south on the eastern coast, features whitewashed houses, pebble-paved courtyards, narrow alleys and buildings influenced by Byzantine, medieval, Arab and Rhodian architecture. In between Rhodes Town and Lindos is the village of Afandou, which is one of the largest on the island, and the name is believed to have come from the word meaning “afando” or invisible. But with its beauty nothing could be further from the truth, however the village was built out of sight from sea, in order to be unnoticed by the pirates that plagued the area for centuries. The village surrounds a lovely square and features many taverns, shops and restaurants.
To the south of Rhodes City is the beach resort of Faliraki, and while it was once a quiet fishing village, today it is the most developed spot on the island. Some visitors enjoy the vibrant water activities and lively nightlife, while others see it is a playground for young rich European tourists. It is home to clubs, bars, lots of shopping and plenty of restaurants.
Embonas is the stellar opposite of Faliraki. It is the highest village on Rhodes, and as a result is almost untouched by tourism, and thus completely unspoiled. Many of the inhabitants still wear traditional local costumes and keep the customs and traditions alive. Embroideries are produced in Embronas, and this is the village’s main attraction. It is also the best spot to see traditional architecture or Rhodes.