The largest and arguably the most beautiful of the 12 islands forming the Dodecanese, Rhodes has long played a major role in history. Lying just 12 miles off the coast of Turkey, the island straddles the sea-lanes linking Egypt, Southern Europe and the Holy Land. Rhodes Town bears witness to that long history. The ancient city features a classical stadium and the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. The "old" city is a walled town with medieval buildings and streets harking back to the days of the Crusades. The new town is a Mecca of luxury resorts lining the island's picturesque Mandaraki Harbor.
The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is reputed to have once stood guard over the harbor. Today, the bronze statues of a stag and doe top the two columns marking the harbor entrance.