Greek Islands Kos and Rodos

Kos Bay - Itaka

Last Sunday I traveled from Turkey to the Greek Islands of Kos and Rodos (Rhodes) en route to Santorini. Both are part of the Dodecanese Islands near the Gulf of Gökova. There is a decided difference between Turkey and Greece – at this point it’s difficult to describe. I had a six-hour layover in Kos before catching a connecting ferry to Rodos.

Kalymnos Island Pothia Port

Kalymnos Pothia Port

It was a beautiful day and Greek families were enjoying picnics in the parks and Sunday brunch at cafes. I walked around most of the day and took photos. There were a few cars on the streets but mostly bicycles. These are some photos from Kos and the ferry ride to Rodos.

Symi Island Clock Tower

Symi Island Clock Tower

Kos is three miles by sea from Bodrum and was founded in 366 BC. Kos Town is the main city. The island is known for its wine and silk production and colorful ancient history. Kos participated in the War of Troy. It was colonized by the Carians and in 11th century BC invaded by the Dorians. “The Venetians captured Kos in 1315 and sold it to the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes. Two hundred years later the Knights left the island to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans ruled for 400 years before transferring Kos to Italy in 1912.”

Colossus of Rhodes

Colossus of Rhodes

“During World War II the Axis powers took over Kos and Italian troops occupied it until their surrender in 1943. Later, British and German forces clashed for control of the island in the Battle of Kos, where the Germans were victorious. German troops occupied Kos until 1945 when it became a protectorate of the United Kingdom, who ceded it to Greece in 1947.”

Kos Castle

Kos Castle

On the way to Rodos we stopped at Symi Island. The port was very beautiful with a clock tower and houses that were “neo-classical grand old structures of former sponge trading merchants”. They were built on the hillside in “dramatic natural amphitheatre style”.

Hippocrates Plane Tree

Hippocrates Plane Tree

Another island with a layout similar to Symi is Kalymnos with its beautiful Port of Pothia. The houses in Kalymnos have Italianate architecture with pastel-washed exteriors – a gorgeous backdrop to the blue Aegean Sea. Photos don’t begin to do these islands justice. Two of many small islands between Kos and Rodos are Tilos and Halki.

Kos Church

Kos Church

By the time the ferry arrived in Rodos I was seasick – the sea was rough with a storm in the works for Monday. Unfortunately I had no time to explore Rodos before my ferry for Santorini departed at 4 pm. Just getting stable enough to make the ferry for Santorini was all I could do – not pleasant. Rhodes is about 541 sq. miles and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s famous for the Colossus of Rhodes – a statue of the Greek Titan Helios – considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Kos Building Best

Kos Building

The medieval Old Town of Rhodes is a World Heritage Site. The ferry ride from Rodos to Santorini was nine hours long on stormy seas. We arrived in Santorini at 1:00 am on Tuesday (I think). I was dizzy and seasick so will take a day or two to recover before exploring. I will be in Santorini for a week and then fly to Athens – no more ferries for a while. More later…

Kos Beach

Bodrum Turkey’s Medieval Castle

Bodrum Castle

Bodrum Castle

Bodrum’s medieval Castle of St Peter is on every tourist “must-see” list. The castle’s courtyards, turrets, galleries, and gardens are magnificent! Its stone walls dominate the Bodrum waterfront from land and sea, and its history is impressive.

Chapel

Chapel

“The castle was a symbol of Christian Europe’s unity against Ottoman power.” The Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes began building Bodrum Castle in 1402. Each group from the order had their own tower including – French, German, English, and Italian.

“At one time Bodrum castle’s location was an island known as Zefirya where King Mausolus (377-353 BC) had his palace. The Knights pillaged the stones used to build the castle from the nearby Mausoleum of King Mausolus – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Mausoleum survived for centuries but an earthquake brought it down in medieval times.”

Flag Between Towers

Flag Between Towers

In 1962, Professor George Bass and his Institute of Nautical Archaeology designed the Castle’s Museum of Underwater Archeology. It’s one of the world’s most distinguished underwater archaeology museums.

Mural

Mural

The Museum has remarkable artifacts recovered from shipwrecks on Turkey’s southern shores. The items recovered include “goods from shipwrecks spread over 32 centuries – from the 16th century BC to the 16th century AD. Cargo amphorae, gold jewelry, ships’ tools and equipment, and two of the ships themselves are on display.”

Enjoying Castle

Selfie Enjoying Castle

One entire exhibition is devoted to the tomb of a Carian princess. In 1989 archeologists discovered a burial chamber with an intact sarcophagus containing the remains of a human female surrounded by gold jewelry. Experts believe the well-preserved skeleton is Ada, the last Hecatomnid ruler of Caria.

Carian Princess

Carian Princess Ada

“After Constantinople fell to the armies of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, the sultan’s armies attacked the castle, but it withstood attacks then and again in 1480. In the 1500s strengthening with more stones from the Mausoleum was insufficient to protect it from the forces of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. In 1522 the castle fell, the knights departed, and the sultan’s standard flew on the English Tower.”

Past history includes the Russian fleet bombarding the castle in 1770. During World War I, the French demolished one side of the English Tower. Also during WWI the Italians rebuilt the Italian Tower and used Bodrum Castle as a military base.