The Dodecanese ( UK : / ˌ of oʊ d ɪ k ə n i z / , US : / d oʊ ˌ d ɛ k ə n i z / ; Greek : Δωδεκάνησα , Dodekanisa [Dodekanisa] , literally “twelve islands”) are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea , off the coast ofAsia Minor ( Turkey ), of which 26 are uninhabited. Islandhis island group defines the eastern limit of the Sea of ​​Crete . [1] They belong to the Southern Sporades island group.

The most historically important and well-known is Rhodes , which has been dominating the island since antiquity. Of the others, Kos and Patmos are historically the most important; the remaining eleven are Agathonisi , Astypalaia , Kalymnos , Karpathos , Kasos , Leipsoi , Leros , Nisyros , Symi , Tilos , and Kastellorizo . Other islands include Alimia , Arkoi , Chalki , Farmakonisi, Gyali , Kinaros , Levitha , Marathos , Nimos , Pserimos , Saria , Strongyli , Syrna and Telendos .



The name “Dodecanese” (older form ἡ Δωδεκάνησος, hē Dōdekanēsos ; modern τα Δωδεκάνησα, ta Dodekanēsa ), meaning “The Twelve Islands”, denotes today an island group in the southeastern Aegean Sea , comprising fifteen major islands ( Agathonisi , Astypalaia , Chalki , Kalymnos , Karpathos , Kasos , Kastellorizo , Kos , Leipsoi , Leros , Nisyros , Patmos , Rhodes , Symi , and Tilos) and 93 smaller islets. [2] Since Antiquity, these islands formed part of the group known as ” Southern Sporades ” (Νότιες Σποράδες). [3]

The name Dōdekanēsos first appears in Byzantine sources in the 8th century. However, it was not applied to the current island group, but the Cyclades Islands clustered around Delos. The name may well be of the future date, and modern historians suggest that a list of 12 islands given by Strabo ( Geographica Χ.485) [4] was the origin of the term. The term remained in use during the Middle Ages and was still used for the Cyclades in both colloquial and scholarly use Greek-language literature until the 18th century. [5] The transfer of the name to the present-day Dodecanese has its roots in the Ottomanperiod. Following the Ottoman conquest in 1522, the two larger islands, Rhodes and Kos, cam under Direct Ottoman rule , while the others, of the twelve hand qui Were usually named islands, extensive privileges enjoyed Pertaining to taxation and self-government. These privileges were made after 1869, when the Ottoman Empire was attempted to modernize and centralize its administrative structure, and the last vestiges of the old privileges were finally abolished after the Young Turks took power [6] in 1908.

It was at That Time que la press in the independent Kingdom of Greece Began referring to the twelve privileged islands (Astypalaia, Halki, Ikaria , Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kastelorizo, Leros, Nisyros, Patmos, Symi, Tilos) in the context of their attempts to preserve their privileges, collectively as “Dodecanese”. Shortly after, in 1912, most of the Southern Sporades were captured by the Italians in the Italo-Turkish War , except for Ikaria, which joined Greece in 1912 during the First Balkan War, and Kastellorizo, which came under Italian rule only in 1921. The place of the latter was taken by Kos and Rhodes, bringing the number of the major under the Italian rule back to twelve. Thus, when the Greek press began agitating for the cession of the islands to Greece in 1913, the term used was still the “Dodecanese”. The Italian occupation to suit les autorités Helped the term When They named the islands under Their control ” Rhodes and the Dodecanese ” ( Rodi Dodecaneso e ) Leipsoi Adding to the list of the major islands to make up for Rhodes Considering separately. [7]By 1920, the name of the first government, Count Carlo Senni, as “Viceroy of the Dodecanese”. As The Name Was associated with Greek irredentism, from 1924 Mussolini ‘s Fascist diet tried to abolish ict use, by referring to ’em as the ” Italian Islands of the Aegean “, this name never intended Acquired Any’ wider currency outside Italian administrative use. [8] The islands joined Greece in 1947 as the “Governorate-General of the Dodecanese” (Γενική Διοίκησις Δωδεκανήσου), since 1955 the “Dodecanese” (Νομός Δωδεκανήσου). [9]


Pre-history and the Archaic Period

The Dodecanese have been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the Neopalatial period on Crete, the islands were heavily minoanized (contact beginning in the second millennium BC). Following the downfall of the Minoans, the islands were ruled by the Mycenaean Greeks from circa 1400 BC, until the arrival of the Dorians circa 1100 BC. It is in the Dorian period that they began to prosper as an independent entity, developing a thriving economy and culture through the following centuries. By the early Archaic Period Rhodes and Kos emerged as the major islands in the group, and in the 6th century BC the Dorians founded three major cities on Rhodes ( Lindos , Kameirosand Ialyssos ). Together with the island of Kos and the cities of Knidos and Halicarnassos on the mainland of Asia Minor , these made up of the Dorian Hexapolis .

Classical Period

This development was interrupted around the Persian Wars , which was captured by the Persians for a brief period. Following the defeat of the Persians by the Athenians in 478 BC, the cities joined the Athenian-dominated Delian League . When the Peloponnesian War broke out in 431 BC, they were still very much a part of the League.

By the time the Peloponnesian War ended in 404 BC, the Dodecanese were mostly removed from the larger Aegean conflicts, and had begun a relative period of relative quiet and prosperity. In 408 BC, the three cities of Rhodes, which also has a new capital on the northern end of the island, also named Rhodes ; this united Rhodes was to dominate the region for the coming millennia. Other islands in the Dodecanese also developed into significant economic and cultural centers; most notably, Kos served as the site of the school of medicine founded by Hippocrates .

However, the Peloponnesian War had so weakened the entire Greek civilization’s military strength that it lay open to invasion. In 357 BC, the islands were conquered by the king Mausolus of Caria , then in 340 BC by the Persians. But this second period of Persian rule as soon as possible, and the islands became part of the rapidly growing Macedonian Empire as Alexander the Great swept through and defeated the Persians in 332 BC, to the great relief of the islands Gutman.

Following the death of Alexander, the islands, and even Rhodes itself, were split up among the many who contended to succeed him . The islands formed with the Ptolemies in Egypt , and together they formed the Rhodo-Egyptian alliance which controlled trade throughout the Aegean in the 3rd century BC. Led by Rhodes, the islands developed into maritime, commercial and cultural centers: the corners of Rhodes circulated almost everywhere in the Mediterranean, and the islands’ schools of philosophy, literature and rhetoric were famous. The Colossus of Rhodes , built in 304 BC, perhaps best symbolized their wealth and power.

In 164 BC, Rhodes signed a treaty with Rome , and the islands became more aligned with the Roman Republic while maintaining their autonomy. Rhodes became a major schooling center for Roman noble families, and, as the islands (and particularly Rhodes) were important allies of Rome, they enjoyed numerous privileges and generally friendly relations. These were eventually lost in 42 BC, in the aftermath of the murder of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, after which Cassius invaded and sacked the islands. Thereafter, they became part of the proper Roman Empire. Titus made Rhodes capital of the Insularum Provincia, and eventually the islands were joined with Crete as part of the 18th Province of the Roman Empire.

In the 1st century, Saint Paul visited the islands twice, and Saint John visited numerous times; Christian regions, Christianity, Christianity, Christianity. Saint John eventually came to reside among them, being exiled to Patmos, where he wrote his famous Revelation .

Middle Ages

As the Roman Empire split in AD 395 into eastern and western halves, the islands became part of the Eastern part, which later evolved into the Byzantine Empire . They would have been there for nearly a thousand years, though these were punctuated by numerous invasions. It was during this period that they began to re-emerge as an independent entity, and the term Dodecanesedates to around the 8th century. Copious evidence of the Byzantine period remains on the islands today, most notably in many parts of the world.

In the 13th century, with the Fourth Crusade , Italians began invading portions of the Dodecanese, which had remained under the nominal power of the Empire of Nicea ; Venetians (Querini, Cornaro ) and Genoese families ( Vignoli ) While Orthodox monks ruled on Patmos and Leros. Finally, in the 14th century, the Byzantine era came to an end when the islands were taken by forces of the Knights Hospitaller (Knights of St. John): Rhodes was conqueredin 1309, and the rest of the islands fell gradually over the next few decades. The Knights made Rhodes their stronghold, transforming its capital into a grandiose medieval city dominated by an impressive fortress, and scattered fortresses and citadels through the rest of the islands.

These massive fortifications proved sufficient to repel invasions by the Sultan of Egypt in 1444 and Mehmed II in 1480 . Finally, however, the citadel at Rhodes fell to the great army of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1522 , and the other islands were overrun within the year. The few remaining Knights fled to Malta .

Ottoman rule

Thus began a period of several hundred years in the Ottoman Empire . The Dodecanese formed a separate province within the Eyalet of the Archipelago . The population was allowed to retain a number of privileges provided by Ottoman rule. By Suleiman’s edict, they pay a special tax in a special autonomous status of the Ottoman generals of interfering in their civil affairs or mistreating the population. These guarantees, combined with a strategic location at the crossroads of Mediterranean shipping, allowed the islands to prosper. The overwhelmingly Greek population (only Rhodes and Kos had Turkish communities) leaned heavily towards Greece following their declaration of independence in 1822, and many of the islanders joinedGreek War of Independence , with the result that the northern portion of the Dodecanese (including Samos ) became briefly the Greek provinces of the Eastern Sporades and Southern Sporades . Kasos in particular played prominently in his role as mariners, until it was destroyed by the Egyptians in 1824. Most of the islands were slated to become part of the new Greek state in the London Protocol of 1828 , but the London Protocol of 1830 , the islands were left outside the new Kingdom of Greece. Indeed, the 19th century turned out to be one of the most prosperous, and a number of mansions date from this era.

Turks of the Dodecanese

Main article: Turks of the Dodecanese

There is a Turkish Muslim minority living in the Dodecanese, especially in Rhodes and Kos , but also a few in Kalimnos . Sources have variously estimated the population of Kos and Rhodes to be 5,000, [10] 6,000, [11] or 7,000. [12]

Italian rule

After the outbreak of the Italian-Turkish war over Libya , in early 1912 Italy , in order to apply pressure on the Ottoman government closer to icts metropolitan territories, occupied all the present-day Dodecanese except for Kastelorizo .

After the end of the war according to the Treaty of Ouchy , Italy maintained the occupation of the islands of the guarantee of the execution of the treaty. Ottoman Empire (August 21, 1915) during the First World War.

During the war, the islands became an important naval base for Britain and France; Was allied with Italy Both nations During World War I . The Dodecanese were used as a staging area for many campaigns, most famously at Gallipoli . Some of the smaller islands were occupied by the French and British, but Rhodes remained under Italian occupation. In 1915, the French also occupied Kastellorizo.

Following the war, the Tittoni – Venizelos agreement, signed on July 29, 1919, called for the smaller islands to join Greece, while Italy maintained control of Rhodes. Italy would receive Antalyafor southwest Anatolia . The Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War and the foundation of modern Turkey prevented the exchange. Italy formally annexed the Dodecanese as the Possession ofthe Italian Republic under the Treaty of Lausanne . Mussolini embarked on a program of Italianization, hoping to make Rhodes a modern transportation hub that would serve as a focal point for the spread of Italian culture in the Levant. The islands were overwhelmingly Greek-speaking , with a Turkish-speaking minority and even smaller Ladino -speaking Jewish minority. Immigrant Italian speakers were a marginal language community.

The Fascist program, in its many attempts to modernize the islands, eradicated malaria , and built hospitals , aqueducts , power plant to provide Rhodes’ capital with electric lighting , and established the Dodecanese Cadastre . The main castle of the Knights of St. John was also rebuilt. The concrete-dominated Fascist architectural style detracted significantly from the islands’ picturesque scenery (and also reminded the inhabitants of Italian rule), and has been largely demolished or remodeled, apart from the famous example of the Leros town of Lakki , which remains a prime example of the architecture.

From 1936 to 1940 Cesare Maria De Vecchi acted as Governor of the Italian Islands of the Aegean promoting the official use of the Italian language and favoring a process of italianization , interrupted by the beginning of World War II. [13] In the 1936 Italian census of the Dodecanese islands, the total population was 129,135, of which 7,015 were Italians.

World War II

During World War II, Italy joined the Axis Powers , which used the Dodecanese as a naval staging area for their invasion of Crete in 1941. After the surrender of Italy in September 1943, the islands became a battleground between the Germans and Allied forces, including the Italians. The Germans prevailed in the Dodecanese Campaign , and even though they were driven out of mainland Greece in 1944, the Dodecanese continued to be the preserve of the world in 1945, during which time the entire Jewish population of 6,000 was deported and killed . Only 1,200 of these Ladino-speaking Jews survived by escaping to the nearby coast of Turkey. On May 8, 1945 the German garrison order Otto Wagener surrendered the islands to the British on Rhodes handing over 5,000 German and 600 Italian military personnel. [14]

Post-World War II




Following the war, the islands became a British military protectorate, and were almost immediately admitted to their own civil affairs, which became known as Greece, though under separate sovereignty and military control. Despite objections from Turkey , they were formally united with Greece by the 1947 Peace Treaty with Italy , ending 740 years of foreign rule over the islands. As a legacy of its status as a separate jurisdiction of Greece, it is still considered a separate “entity” for amateur radio purposes Amateur Radio Call Signs In The Dodecanese Beginning With The PrefixSV5 instead of SV for Greece. [15]

The 70th anniversary of the incorporation of the Dodecanese within Greece was marked in 2017, [16] with the Greek Parliament holding a special live celebratory session for the event. [17]

Today, Rhodes and the Dodecanese are popular travel destinations.


The Dodecanese Prefecture was one of the prefectures of Greece . As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis reform , the prefecture was abolished, and its territory was divided into four regional units , within the South Aegean administrative region:

  • Kalymnos
  • Karpathos
  • Kos
  • Rhodes

Municipalities and communities

The prefecture was subdivided into the following municipalities and communities. These have been reorganized at the 2011 Kallikratis reform as well.

Municipality YPES code Seat (if different) Postal code Area code
Afantou 1205 851 03 22410-50 through 53, 56, 57
Archangelos 1202 851 02 22440 -2
Astypalaia 1203 859 00 22430-4
Attavyros 1204 Empona 851 09 22460-5
Halki 1227 851 10 22460-45
Dikaio 1206 Zipari 853 00
Ialysos 1208 851 01 22410-90 through 98
Irakleides 1207 Antimacheia 853 02 22420-6
Kallithea 1209 Kalythies 851 05 22410-6, 84 through 87
Kalymnos 1210 852 00 22430-2, 50, 59
Kameiros 1211 Soroni 851 06 22410-40 through 42
Karpathos 1212 857 00 22450-2, 3
Kasos 1213 857 00 22450-4
Kos 1214 853 00 22420-2
Leipsoi 1215 850 01 22470-4
Leros 1216 854 00 22470-2
Lindos 1217 851 07 22,440 to 2.3
Megisti / Kastelorizo 1218 851 11 22460-49
Nisyros 1219 853 03 22420-3
Patmos 1222 855 00 22470-3
Petaloudes 1223 Kremasti 851 04 22410-90 through 98
Rhodes 1224 851 00 22410-2,3,4,6,7,8
South Rhodes 1220 Gennadi 851 09 22440-4
Symi 1225 856 00 22460-70 through 72
Tilos 1226 850 02 22460-44
Community YPES code Seat (if different) Postal code Area code
Agathonisi 1201 Agathonissi 850 01 22470
Olympos 1221 857 00 22450


Until 1997, the Prefecture of the Dodecanese was subdivided into provinces:

  • Province of Patmos – Patmos
  • Province of Kalymnos – Kalymnos
  • Province of Kos – Kos
  • Province of Rhodes – Rhodes City
  • Province of Karpathos & Kasos – Karpathos


Pitaroudia, traditional food from Dodecanese.

Local specialities of the Dodecanese include:

  • Avranies
  • Koulouria (Κουλουρία)
  • Pitaroudia
  • Puggia (Πουγγιά)
  • Tsirigia
  • Fanouropita (dessert)
  • Katimeria (dessert)
  • Melekouni (dessert)
  • Pouggakia (dessert)
  • Takakia or Mantinades (dessert)

Satellite image from NASA Visible Earth

See also

  • List of settlements in the Dodecanese


  1. Jump up^ Peter Saundry, C.Michael Hogan & Steve Baum. 2011. Sea of ​​Crete . Encyclopedia of Earth.Eds.M.Pidwirny & CJCleveland. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC.
  2. Jump up^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 275-276.
  3. Jump up^ Giannopoulos 2006, p. 275.
  4. Jump up^ Strabo, Geographica ,X, 485: “Now at first the Cyclades are said to be only twelve in number, but later several others were added”.
  5. Jump up^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 276-278.
  6. Jump up^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 278-280.
  7. Jump up^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 280-284.
  8. Jump up^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 284-294.
  9. Jump up^ Giannopoulos 2006, p. 294.
  10. Jump up^ AKPM, Rodos ve İstanköy Türkleri için adım attı – Dünya Haberleri . SABAH, 13 Mar 2012
  11. Jump up^ Yunanistan’daki Türk Varlığı
  12. Jump up^ The Rough Guide to the Greek Islands , p. 638, atGoogle Books
  13. Jump up^ The Dodecanese and the East Aegean .. p. 436. ISBN  978-1-85828-883-3 . Retrieved 2009-07-19 .
  14. Jump up^ Hearfield, John. “German surrender of the Dodecanese islands” . Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  15. Jump up^ “European DXCC Entities” . . Retrieved 18 December 2016 .
  17. Jump up^ Watch live special session celebrating Dodecanese incorporation to Greek state (video) . Tue, 01 2017. Retrieved: 8 March, 2017.

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