The main food on most of the islands of the Dodecanese was and still is roast pork.
In several villages of Rhodes, the slaughtering of the pig that the families raised was done in groups and with a special ritual. Among the Christmas foods were also the traditional "japrakia" which were not missing from the table. As far as sweets are concerned, both in Rhodes and on the other islands, the characteristic is diples, which are still manufactured today.
On New Year's, one of the customs that is still preserved today is the custom of "bulustrina". On the first day of the year, young children visit their relatives and receive from them a sum of money in the form of a gift called bulustrina.
One of the remarkable things about the days is that on Christmas Day the residents of Rhodes are used to going to church as a family and immediately after visiting their elderly parents and grandparents for the related wishes.
Rhodes and its villages have a rich tradition of carnival customs, rituals, traditional masquerades, mime shows, satires, foot and chariot parades, which are modernized year by year, but keeping deep down the roots of their origin.
The Knights, upon their establishment in Rhodes, immediately started a rational program of reconstruction and defensive armoring of the island: The fortifications were enlarged, modernized and constantly strengthened. The building activity of the Knights was intense: Numerous public buildings, among them a hospital, a palace and several churches. These buildings were built with Gothic and Renaissance architecture standards. But almost all the Byzantine walls and buildings, as well as the ancient ones, were destroyed, so that their materials could be used in the construction of the new ones. The old city (fortress and inner city) is preserved as a knightly complex and only the Byzantine churches were saved. Most of the streets of the Medieval City coincide with the streets of the ancient city, while its division into two zones with an inner wall was preserved. The northern part, Kollakio, was also the richest, the most imposing with the palace of the Grand Master, the Catholic cathedral and the residence of the Catholic bishop, the lodgings of the "languages", the residences of the Knights, a hospital, etc. The southern part of the city, Burgo was the most degraded area, where the common people lived. Did it include the market, synagogues of the once numerous Jews? orthodox churches as well as public and commercial buildings. The walls of the Old Town - the pinnacle of Medieval fortification art - were built on the platforms of the earlier Byzantine wall. After the siege of 1480 and the earthquake of 1481 they were rebuilt by Grand Master Pierre D'Aubusson. Today 13 bastions and 11 gates are preserved. The characteristics of European architecture with models from France and Spain were transferred by the Knights to Rhodes. Towards the beginning of the 16th century, a strong influence from the Renaissance appears. The Knights build with an isostructural system, usually two-story buildings with rigor and conservatism, using local xanthopo poroli.
In 1522 the Ottoman Turks sacked the city of Rhodes after a second painful siege. During the early main phase of their rule, mosques, public baths and residences were built.
The Ottomans repaired the walls, converted most churches into mosques, and converted stately private residences into private or public buildings.
The general decline and shrinkage also affected architectural and artistic production. Not many new monuments are built. They slightly changed the old houses with the addition of "trellis" and baths - usually at the back of the houses, while in the majority of them the architectural features of the existing buildings were preserved. At the same time, the most beautiful churches were converted into mosques and new ones were built, such as Suleiman Mosque. The Ottomans, following the oriental traditions, built the Jeni Hammam baths (New Baths) which are still used today.
In the picturesque and popular Mandraki, one of the three ports of the city, there are the two bronze deer, landmarks of the city. Next to it, on the pier, are the lighthouse - tower of Agios Nikolaos and three windmills of the Chivalry. Starting from the New Agora, a polygonal building with an inner courtyard, the visitor is obliged to look carefully, so that he cannot perceive the grandiose building program conceived by the Italians, who aspired to remain forever in the Dodecanese. In 1923 Italy established a colony, the Italian Islands of the Aegean (Isote Italian del Egeo). To reform the city of Rhodes according to their philosophy, they demolished the houses that had been built on and beside the walls during the Ottoman period and turned the Jewish and Ottoman cemeteries into a "green belt", which included the Medieval City. They retained the remaining elements of the Knights period and, in a move of cultural cleansing, removed all Ottoman additions. At the same time, they rebuilt the Grand Master's palace as a royal summer residence. The Italians focused on essential infrastructure projects and really transformed the city of Rhodes from an anarchic mess into an organized island state. More specifically, they developed a plan to transform the coastal avenue into a facade - promenade with administrative buildings and cultural spaces. Applying the rules of the International Style, a comparative multicultural aesthetic system (with elements of Islamic, Roman, renaissance and insular) combined with the imperatives of the fascist strict building aesthetics created perhaps the most beautiful coastal road in Greece: The imposing buildings of the fascist period, such as the Central Post Office, the City Hall, the National Theater as well as the Governorate (today's Prefecture) and the converted Orthodox Church of the Annunciation - a tiled basilica with a gabled roof and frescoes from the 20th century. At the northern end of the city is the Institute of Marine Biology or Aquarium.
Archangelos: Fragmentary, but admirable traditional architecture.
Malona: It is a combination of new housing dynamics and traditional architecture. The traditional house is narrow with a thatched roof. Other interesting buildings are the imposing 5-arched community building, the classicizing old school (1876 onwards) now the Cultural Center.
Massari: Typical for a Rhodian village, the complex of a classicizing school with 3 gables and an Ionic prostration and a "Dodecanese style" church with a high bell tower.
Monolithos: The school and the elegant, Italian-built Gendarmerie station exude aesthetics and history.
Sianno: The needs for aesthetic and historical stimuli are satisfied by the splendid temple of Ag. Panteleimon and the school of 1936.
Kallithea Thermal Springs: Outstanding architectural interest in a privileged location with pine trees and green waters. It was built in 1929 by order of the then Italian Commander Mario Lago. In 1930, the upper atrium was completed and the final configuration of the outdoor space was completed. The Italian architect Pietro Lombardi arranged the available space in 3 sections: The central entrance with the circular square and the fountain, the semi-circular atrium for water distribution and the sanitary facilities complex. These sections are functionally connected to each other and are surrounded by recreational areas, gardens, parks, and cobbled paths. The architectural elements reflect in terms of form the cultures that passed through Rhodes: Doric, Roman, Byzantine, Chivalric, Arab and local island.
Kalythies: The Town Hall (end of the 19th century), today completely renovated, stands out for the eclecticism of the interior decoration with stained glass windows and Oriental and Renaissance elements.
Koskinou: Rhodian architecture is preserved to a sufficient extent. The core of the settlement remains traditional with single-storey, rectangular white houses, built of adobe, with an internal arch, some with cornices and gables, gates and cobblestones ("knobs"), some from the 19th century, and decorative plates inside.
"Elafos and Elafina" (prophet Elias term): Hotel complex built by the Italians, "Elafos" (1929, Albergo del Cervo) has three floors with a basement. In 1930, a restaurant was added on the ground floor with a large terrace, and a tennis court and dance floor were built. Later, a floor was added by removing the veranda. In 1932, a new wing called "Elafina" was built, with two floors and a basement. Both were built "with a mixed system of stonework and reinforced concrete frame, with strongly pitched wooden roofs, covered with special corrugated sheets, wooden frames and wooden verandas".
Dimylia - (Eleousa): Built in lush vegetation, it maintains a traditional color with cobblestones, fountains and houses with tiled roofs.
Kalavarda: With many traditional pebbles that mark the life of the village aesthetically and functionally.
Salakos: It exudes peace and traditionality. In the picturesque central square there is an Ottoman fountain and low tiled houses and shops.
Soroni: Although it is developing rapidly, it maintains its traditional character in some areas. The imposing building of the Town Hall - an imitation of an ancient temple - and the School with its large gable and white arches exudes aesthetics and history.
Lindos: The entrance to the white settlement is to the north, where is the traditional square with a large tree in the middle and a fountain from the Chivalry. An interesting building is the neoclassical old school, next to the church of Panagia. With the systematic organization of a medieval island state, it is characterized by a continuous building system with inner courtyards. The houses have common characteristics, but are divided into 3 categories: The simple ones (reminiscent of rural Rhodes), those with a courtyard and the mansions. The most representative mansions are those of Papakonstantis (1626), Koliodos, Makris (1700), Krikis (1700), Markoulitsas (1700), etc. Most simple houses have mainly flat roofs. The building materials for masonry are the local porolithos or simple stones, plastered and whitewashed.
Vati: The traditional appearance of the village, as it was formed mainly in the 19th century, is largely preserved. A trademark is the square with a special unchanged color and the many well-preserved mills from the Chivalry.
Gennadi: Interesting administrative buildings (house, post office, carabinieri station, etc.) from the Italian era.
Damatria: Houses with a traditional appearance, nice fountains and a Fallen Hero.
Kremasti: Despite the modern architectural interventions, it has the signs of traditional residential architecture, neoclassical spirit and Italian International Style. Interesting buildings are the classic Library, the Police building and the majestic newer church of Panagia.
Maritsa: It retains its traditional color in isolated places with one-room rectangular houses, long and narrow, with two usually narrow whitewashed windows.
Paradise: Attractive despite the modern architectural interventions, with a spacious square with a cathedral and statues of fighters and the late Renaissance type of today's T.E.E.
Pastida: Stone-paved alleys, a square with a fountain and stairs and traditional houses, rectangular in shape, with an internal arch, roof with beams, walls decorated with plates and objects of rural and pastoral life -
The most important religious holidays:
Dodecanese-wide pilgrimage to Panagia Kremastis (first 15th of August) with rich cultural events, Panagia Tsampikas (8/9), Agios Soulas in a magical mountain environment in the monastery of the same name in Soroni (end of July), Panagia Skiadeni in the village of Mesanagros ( Saturday of Lazarus - Sunday of Thomas) with a litany of an image that is performed in a ritualistic way recalling an ancient event passing through the surrounding villages and ending up at the Catholic church of Mesanagro with a return to Skiadi, and of Panagia Ypseni in Lardo.
Other festivals and events:
Watermelon Festival (first weekend after Ag. Marina) in Apolakkia, Wheat Festival (first weekend of August) in Lachania, Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (25/3) and Agios Gerasimos (15/8) in the church of Agios Gerasimos Pylonas, Agios Georgios (Easter Monday) in the Monastery of Agios Georgios Lordos, Agios Konstantinos and Eleni (21/5), Holy Monastery of THARRI Laermon, Agios Pavlos (28/6) Monastery of Agioi Apostoloi Lindos, Agia Kyriaki (6/7) Monastery of Agia Kyriaki Kalathos, Panagia Ypseni (22/8), Sotiros (6/8) in Maritsa, Carnival Parade in Lindos, Easter celebration with live music and traditional dance groups (Easter Sunday) in Lindos, Ag. Panteleimonas (Sianna), Ag. Nikita (Fanes), the Transfiguration (6/8) in Kiotari, the Holy Cross (14/9) in Apollona, Ag. Marina in Apolakkia, the Conception of John the Baptist (23/9) in the Monastery of Artamitis, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (15/8) in Embona with events of local associations and in Mesanagros.
The Municipality of Rhodes, in addition to the individual events during the summer season (concerts, invitations of companies from central theatrical stages, exhibitions of internationally renowned artists, etc.), has established cultural institutions such as ECOFILMS - International Film and Visual Arts Festivals of Rhodes - in the last week of June, the Rhodes International Music Festival with a competition of choirs and lyrical soloists in the first week of July, the Cycle of Ancient Drama in July and August, the Music Days - Classical Music Festival - in September, the Anthestiria on the last Sunday of May as well as a set of events during the Christmas and Carnival period. At the same time, the venues of the events are highlighted (Medieval Moat Theater, National Theater of Rhodes, Palace of Grand Master, Panagia of the Castle, Archaeological Museum, etc.).
The main annual cultural events in the other municipalities of the island are: The international music and dance festivals "Ialysia", (Ialyssos, August), the International Exhibition of Hanging Crafts and Ceramics (August), the celebration of World Tourism Day (27/9 in various Municipalities), the August Honey and Soumas Festival (Sianna) and the wine festivals (Pastida, Empona - first ten days of September).

Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou