The Dodecanese (UK: /ˌdoʊdɪkəˈniːz/, US: /doʊˌdɛkəˈniːz/; Greek: Δωδεκάνησα, Dodekánisa [ðoðeˈkanisa], literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor (Turkey), of which 26 are inhabited. Τhis island group generally defines the eastern limit of the Sea of Crete.[1] They belong to the wider Southern Sporades island group.

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


Former prefecture
Location of Dodecanese in Greece
Location of Dodecanese in Greece
Location of municipalities within Dodecanese Prefecture
Location of municipalities within Dodecanese Prefecture
PeripherySouth Aegean
 • Total2,714 km2 (1,048 sq mi)
Area rank18th
 • Total200,452
 • Rank12th
 • Density74/km2 (190/sq mi)
 • Density rank14th
Postal codes
85x xx
Area codes2241-2247
ISO 3166 codeGR-81
Vehicle registrationΚΧ, ΡΚ, PO, ΡΥ


The name "Dodecanese" (older form ἡ Δωδεκάνησος, hē Dōdekanēsos; modern τα Δωδεκάνησα, ta Dōdekanēsa), 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, Lipsi, Leros, Nisyros, Patmos, Rhodes, Symi, and Tilos) and 93 smaller islets.[2] Since Antiquity, these islands formed part of the group known as the "Southern Sporades" (Νότιες Σποράδες).[3]

The name Dōdekanēsos first appears in Byzantine sources in the 8th century, as a naval command under a droungarios, encompassing the southern Aegean Sea, which eventually evolved into the Theme of Samos.[4] However it was not applied to the current island group, but to the twelve Cyclades islands clustered around Delos. The name may indeed be of far earlier date, and modern historians suggest that a list of 12 islands given by Strabo (Geographica Χ.485)[5] was the origin of the term. The term remained in use throughout the medieval period and was still used for the Cyclades in both colloquial usage and scholarly Greek-language literature until the 18th century.[6]

The transfer of the name to the present-day Dodecanese has its roots in the Ottoman period. Following the Ottoman conquest in 1522, the two larger islands, Rhodes and Kos, came under direct Ottoman rule, while the others, of which the twelve main islands were usually named, enjoyed extensive privileges pertaining to taxation and self-government. Concerted attempts to abolish these privileges were made after 1869, as the Ottoman Empire 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[7] in 1908. It was at that time that the press in the independent Kingdom of Greece began referring to the twelve privileged islands (Astypalaia, Chalki, Ikaria, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kastellorizo, Leros, Nisyros, Patmos, Symi, Tilos) in the context of their attempts to preserve their privileges, collectively as the "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 two was taken by Kos and Rhodes, bringing the number of the major islands under 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 authorities helped to establish the term when they named the islands under their control "Rhodes and the Dodecanese" (Rodi e Dodecaneso), adding Leipsoi to the list of the major islands to make up for considering Rhodes separately.[8]

By 1920, the name had become firmly established for the entire island group, a fact acknowledged by the Italian government when it appointed the islands' first civilian governor, Count Carlo Senni, as "Viceroy of the Dodecanese". As the name was associated with Greek irredentism, from 1924 Mussolini's Fascist regime tried to abolish its use by referring to them as the "Italian Islands of the Aegean", but this name never acquired any wider currency outside Italian administrative usage.[9] The islands joined Greece in 1947 following as the "Governorate-General of the Dodecanese" (Γενική Διοίκησις Δωδεκανήσου), since 1955 the "Dodecanese Prefecture" (Νομός Δωδεκανήσου).[10]


Pre-history and the Archaic period

Doric Temple of Athena Lindia
The Doric temple of Athena Lindia, Lindos

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, Kameiros and Ialyssos). Together with the island of Kos and the cities of Knidos and Halicarnassos on the mainland of Asia Minor, these made up the Dorian Hexapolis.

Classical period

This development was interrupted around 499 BC by the Persian Wars, during which the islands were 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 remained largely neutral although they were still members 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 period of relative quiet and prosperity. In 408 BC, the three cities of Rhodes had united to form one state, which built 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 proved to be nearly as short as the first, 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' inhabitants.

Following the death of Alexander, the islands, and even Rhodes itself, were split up among the many generals who contended to succeed him. The islands formed strong commercial ties 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: coins 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 aligned to greater or lesser extent with the Roman Republic while mostly maintaining their autonomy. Rhodes quickly 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 turmoil following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, after which Cassius invaded and sacked the islands. Thereafter, they became part of the Roman Empire proper. Titus made Rhodes capital of the Provincia Insularum, 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; they succeeded in converting the islands to Christianity, placing them among the first dominantly Christian regions. 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 remain 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 Dodecanese itself dates to around the 8th century. Copious evidence of the Byzantine period remains on the islands today, most notably in hundreds of churches from the period which can be seen in various states of preservation.

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) each held some islands for brief periods, 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 conquered in 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 as well.

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 large 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

The Mosque of Suleiman (view from below). Rhodes cityscape, the island of Rhodes, the Dodecanese, Greece
Suleiman mosque (view from below), Rhodes (city)

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 it submitted to Ottoman rule. By Suleiman's edict, they paid a special tax in return for a special autonomous status that prohibited Ottoman generals from 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 its declaration of independence in 1822, and many of the islanders joined the Greek 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 a prominent role due to its skilled mariners, until its destruction 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 when Greek independence was recognized in 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 islands' most prosperous, and a number of mansions date from this era.

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 Turkish population of Kos and Rhodes to be 5,000,[11] 6,000,[12] or 7,000.[13]

Italian rule

Offices of the Prefecture of the Dodecanese 02
Palazzo del Governo in Rhodes (city), now the Prefecture of the Dodecanese.

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 its metropolitan territories, occupied all the present-day Dodecanese except for Kastellorizo.

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

During the war, the islands became an important naval base for Britain and France; Italy was allied with both nations during World War I. The Dodecanese were used as a staging area for numerous campaigns, most famously the one 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 TittoniVenizelos agreement, signed on July 29, 1919, called for the smaller islands to join with Greece, while Italy maintained control of Rhodes. The treaty further outlined an exchange where Italy would receive Antalya for 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 Possedimenti Italiani dell'Egeo under the terms of 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 an 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 constructed hospitals, aqueducts, a 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 consequently 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.[14] In the 1936 Italian census of the Dodecanese islands, the total population was 129,135, of which 7,015 were Italians.

World War II

WWII cemetery in Leros

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 briefly became a battleground between the Germans and Allied forces, including the Italians. The Germans prevailed in the Dodecanese Campaign, and although they were driven out of mainland Greece in 1944, the Dodecanese remained occupied until the end of the war in 1945, during which time nearly 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 8 May 1945 the German garrison commander Otto Wagener surrendered the islands to the British on Rhodes handing over 5,000 German and 600 Italian military personnel.[15]

Diafáni – Fountain of Neptune - 1
Modern fountain of Neptune in Diafáni, Karpathos

Post-World War II

Following the war, the islands became a British military protectorate, and were almost immediately allowed to run their own civil affairs, upon which the islands became informally united with Greece, though under separate sovereignty and military control. Despite objections from Turkey, which desired the islands as well, 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 former status as a jurisdiction separate from Greece, it is still considered a separate "entity" for amateur radio purposes, essentially maintaining its status as an independent country "on the air." Amateur Radio call signs in the Dodecanese begin with the prefix SV5 instead of SV for Greece.[16]

The 70th anniversary of the incorporation of the Dodecanese within Greece was marked in 2017,[17] with the Greek Parliament holding a special celebratory session for the event.[18]

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:

Municipalities and communities

The prefecture was subdivided into the following municipalities and communities. These have been reorganised 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
Chalki 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 858 00 22450-4
Kos 1214 853 00 22420-2
Lipsi 1215 850 01 22470-4
Leros 1216 854 00 22470-2
Lindos 1217 851 07 22440-2,3
Megisti/Kastellorizo 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:


Pitaroudia, traditional food from Dodecanese.

Local specialities of the Dodecanese include:

  • Avranies
  • Koulouria (Κουλουρία)
  • Pitaroudia
  • Pouggia (Πουγγιά)
  • Tsirigia
  • Fanouropita (dessert)
  • Katimeria (dessert)
  • Melekouni (dessert)
  • Pouggakia (dessert)
  • Takakia or Mantinades (dessert)
Turkey.A2005174.0855.250m Dodecanese
Satellite image from NASA Visible Earth

See also


  1. ^ Peter Saundry, C.Michael Hogan & Steve Baum. 2011. Sea of Crete. Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds.M.Pidwirny & C.J.Cleveland. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC.
  2. ^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 275–276.
  3. ^ Giannopoulos 2006, p. 275.
  4. ^ Ahrweiler 1966, pp. 79–81.
  5. ^ Strabo, Geographica, X, 485: "Now at first the Cyclades are said to have been only twelve in number, but later several others were added".
  6. ^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 276–278.
  7. ^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 278–280.
  8. ^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 280–284.
  9. ^ Giannopoulos 2006, pp. 284–294.
  10. ^ Giannopoulos 2006, p. 294.
  11. ^ AKPM, Rodos ve İstanköy Türkleri için adım attı - Dünya Haberleri. SABAH, 13 Mar 2012
  12. ^ "Yunanistan'daki Türk Varlığı". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  13. ^ The Rough Guide to the Greek Islands, p. 638, at Google Books
  14. ^ The Dodecanese and the East Aegean ... p. 436. ISBN 978-1-85828-883-3. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  15. ^ Hearfield, John. "German surrender of the Dodecanese islands". Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  16. ^ "European DXCC Entities". Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  18. ^ Watch live special session celebrating Dodecanese incorporation to Greek state (video). Mar, 01 2017. Retrieved: 8 March, 2017.


External links

  • Dodecanese Official website of the Greek National Tourism Organisation

Coordinates: 36°22′23″N 27°13′05″E / 36.373°N 27.218°E


Antipatitis (Greek: αντιπατητής) is a form of a Greek folk dance from Greek island Karpathos, Greece.

Cibyrrhaeot Theme

The Cibyrrhaeot Theme, more properly the Theme of the Cibyrrhaeots (Greek: θέμα Κιβυρραιωτῶν, romanized: thema Kibyrrhaiōtōn), was a Byzantine theme encompassing the southern coast of Asia Minor from the early 8th to the late 12th centuries. As the Byzantine Empire's first and most important naval theme (θέμα ναυτικόν, thema nautikon), it served chiefly to provide ships and troops for the Byzantine navy.


The Cyclades (; Greek: Κυκλάδες [kikˈlaðes]) are an island group in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around (κυκλάς) the sacred island of Delos. The largest island of the Cyclades is Naxos.

Diagoras F.C.

Diagoras Football Club (Greek: Γ.Σ Διαγόρας) is a football club based in Rhodes, Greece. It was founded in 1905. Diagoras is named after the island's ancient boxer Diagoras. The team first played under Ottoman Rule until the short lived independence of the Dodecanese in 1912. No matches at all were held during the Balkan Wars and the team did not play with Greek teams until the Dodecanese joined with the rest of Greece in 1947.

The club demonstrated rich social, cultural, sporting and especially patriotic activities, because of which was dissolved by the occupying Fascist Italian authorities in 1929. Diagoras reconstituted in 1945, just prior the liberation of Rhodes and the union with Greece. They played in Super League Greece between 1986-1989.

In 1987 the club reached the semi-finals of the Greek Cup, losing to OFI.

On 16 February 2012, Diagoras was expelled from the professional leagues by the Greek Professional Sports Committee.

Dodecanese campaign

The Dodecanese campaign of World War II was an attempt by Allied forces to capture the Italian-held Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea following the surrender of Italy in September 1943, and use them as bases against the German-controlled Balkans. Operating without air cover, the Allied effort failed, with the whole of the Dodecanese falling to the Germans within two months, and the Allies suffering heavy losses in men and ships. The Dodecanese campaign, lasting from 8 September to 22 November 1943, resulted in one of the last big German victories in the war.


Farmakonisi or Pharmakonisi (Greek: Φαρμακονήσι) is a small Greek island and community of the Dodecanese, in the Aegean Sea, Greece. It lies in the middle between the chain of the Dodecanese islands in the west, and the coast of Asia Minor (Turkey) in the east. To the north of it are the island of Agathonisi, to the west the islands of Leipsoi, Patmos and Leros, and to the south the islands of Kalymnos and Pserimos. It forms part of the municipality of Leros, and had a 2001 census population of 74 inhabitants, while in the 2011 census the population dropped to 10 inhabitants. Prominent historical monuments on the island include the church of Agios Georgios (Greek: Άγιος Γεώργιος) and the nearby ruins of an ancient Roman temple.

The area of Farmakonisi is 1.48 square miles (3.8 km2).

Halki (Greece)

Halki (Greek: Χάλκη; alternatively Chalce or Chalki) is a Greek island and municipality in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea, some 6 km (4 mi) west of Rhodes. With an area of 28 km2 (11 sq mi), it is the smallest inhabited island of the Dodecanese. It is part of the Rhodes regional unit. It has a permanent population of 330 (increased during the summer months), concentrated in the only village Emborio. The 2011 census showed a population of 478 inhabitants. The community is divided in two parts, Chorio (Χωριό, also spelled Horio, "Village") Emporio (Εμποριό, "Market").

Italian Islands of the Aegean

The Italian Islands of the Aegean (Italian: Isole italiane dell'Egeo; Greek: Ἰταλικαὶ Νῆσοι Αἰγαίου Πελάγους) were a group of twelve major islands (the Dodecanese) in the southeastern Aegean Sea, that — together with the surrounding islets — were ruled by the Kingdom of Italy from 1912 to 1943 and the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. When the Kingdom of Italy was restored, they remained under Italian possession until 1947.

Italian colonists in the Dodecanese

Italian colonists were settled in the Dodecanese Islands of the Aegean Sea in the 1930s by the Fascist Italian government of Benito Mussolini, Italy having been in occupation of the Islands since the Italian-Turkish War of 1911.

By 1940, the number of Italians settled in the Dodecanese was almost 8,000, concentrated mainly in Rhodes. In 1947, after the Second World War, the islands came into the possession of Greece: as a consequence most of the Italians were forced to emigrate and all of the Italian schools were closed. However, their architectural legacy is still evident, especially in Rhodes and Leros.


Kalymnos, (Greek: Κάλυμνος) is a Greek island and municipality in the southeastern Aegean Sea. It belongs to the Dodecanese and is located to the west of the peninsula of Bodrum (the ancient Halicarnassos), between the islands of Kos (south, at a distance of 12 km (7 mi)) and Leros (north, at a distance of less than 2 km (1 mi)): the latter is linked to it through a series of islets. Kalymnos lies between two and five hours away by sea from Rhodes.

In 2011 the island had a population of 16,001, making it the third most populous island of the Dodecanese, after Kos and Rhodes. It is known in Greece for the affluence of much of its population, and also stands as both the wealthiest member of the Dodecanese and one of the wealthiest Greek islands overall. The Municipality of Kalymnos, which includes the populated offshore islands of Pserimos (pop. 80), Telendos (94), Kalolimnos (2), and Pláti (2), as well as several uninhabited islets, has a combined land area of 134.544 square kilometres (51.948 sq mi) and a total population of 16,179 inhabitants.


Kos or Cos (; Greek: Κως [kos]) is a Greek island, part of the Dodecanese island chain in the southeastern Aegean Sea, off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. Kos is the third largest island of the Dodecanese by area, after Rhodes and Karpathos; it has a population of 33,388 (2011 census), making it the second most populous of the Dodecanese, after Rhodes. The island measures 40 by 8 kilometres (25 by 5 miles), and is 4 km (2 miles) from the coast of the ancient region of Caria in Turkey. Administratively, Kos constitutes a municipality within the Kos regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Kos Town.


Leros (Greek: Λέρος) is a Greek island and municipality in the Dodecanese in the southern Aegean Sea. It lies 317 kilometres (197 miles) (171 nautical miles) from Athens's port of Piraeus, from which it can be reached by an 8.5-hour ferry ride (or by a 45-minute flight from Athens). Leros is part of the Kalymnos regional unit. The island has been also called in Italian: Lero.

List of islands of Greece

Greece has a large number of islands, with estimates ranging from somewhere around 1,200 to 6,000, depending on the minimum size to take into account. The number of inhabited islands is variously cited as between 166 and 227.The largest Greek island by area is Crete, located at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea. The second largest island is Euboea, which is separated from the mainland by the 60m-wide Euripus Strait, and is administered as part of the Central Greece region. After the third and fourth largest Greek Islands, Lesbos and Rhodes, the rest of the islands are two-thirds of the area of Rhodes, or smaller.

The Greek islands are traditionally grouped into the following clusters: the Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens; the Cyclades, a large but dense collection occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea; the North Aegean islands, a loose grouping off the west coast of Turkey; the Dodecanese, another loose collection in the southeast between Crete and Turkey; the Sporades, a small tight group off the coast of Euboea; and the Ionian Islands, chiefly located to the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea. Crete with its surrounding islets and Euboea are traditionally excluded from this grouping.


Nisiotika (Greek: νησιώτικα) is the name of the songs and dances of Greek islands including a variety of Greek styles, played by ethnic Greeks in Greece, Cyprus, Australia, the United States and elsewhere.

The Aegean Islands have a well known folk dance tradition, which comes from the dances of ancient Greece like: syrtos, sousta and ballos. The lyre is the dominant folk instrument and other like laouto, violin, askomandoura with Greek characteristics vary widely. In the Aegean, the violin and the Cretan lyra are very widespread Greek musical instruments.

Famous representative musicians and performers of Nisiotika include: Mariza Koch as credited with reviving the field in the 1970s, Yiannis Parios, Domna Samiou, the Konitopouloi family (including Giorgos Konitopoulos, Vangelis Konitopoulos, Eirini Konitopoulou, Nasia and Stella Konitopoulou) and others.

There are also prominent elements of Cretan music on the Dodecanese Islands and Cyclades.

Greek folk dances of Nisiotika include:



Kamara (dance)


Karavas (dance) of Naxos




Pirgousikos of Chios



Sousta Lerou

Sousta Tilou

Syrtos Kythnou

Syrtos Serifou

Syrtos Naxou



Patmos (Greek: Πάτμος, pronounced [ˈpatmos]) is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It is the location of the vision given to the disciple John in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, and where the book was written.

One of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex, it has a population of 2,998 and an area of 34.05 km2 (13.15 sq mi). The highest point is Profitis Ilias, 269 metres (883 ft) above sea level. The municipality of Patmos, which includes the offshore islands of Arkoi (pop. 44), Marathos (pop. 5), and several uninhabited islets, has a total population of 3,047 (2011 census) and a combined land area of 45.039 square kilometres (17.390 sq mi). It is part of the Kalymnos regional unit.

Patmos' main communities are Chora (the capital city), and Skala, the only commercial port. Other settlements are Grikou and Kampos. The churches and communities on Patmos are of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The mayor of Patmos is Gregory Stoikos.


Pserimos (Greek: Ψέριμος Δωδεκανήσου) is a small Greek island in the Dodecanese chain, lying between Kalymnos and Kos in front of the coast of Turkey. It is part of the municipality of Kálymnos, and reported a population of 80 inhabitants at the 2011 census.The main industry is tourism, with Greek and other European holidaymakers attracted by its remote location. There are several beaches and a number of taverns, some of which offer accommodation.

Pserimos is served by a daily ferry from Pothia, on the island of Kalymnos, and is a destination on the itinerary of a number of cruise boats in the area.

Turks of the Dodecanese

The Turks of the Dodecanese are a community of 5,500 Turkish-speaking people and ethnic Turks living on the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes (Turkish: Rodos) and Kos (Turkish: İstanköy) who were not affected by the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey, since the islands were under the rule of the Kingdom of Italy at the time (from 1912). All inhabitants of the islands became Greek citizens after 1947 when the islands became part of Greece.

As a result of this incorporation into Greece and due to the situation following the Cyprus conflict and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 many Muslim Turks left the islands and settled in Turkey. Many of them were deprived of their Greek citizenship and property. Some of those who stayed abandoned the Turkish language and their religion.The Turks in Kos are partly organized around the Muslim Association of Kos Kos Müslüman which gives the figure 2,000 for the population they bring together and represent for the Greek island.Those in Rhodes are organized around the Moslem Association of Rhodes Rodos Müslümanı, which gives the figure 3,500 for the population they bring together and represent for the island.The more general term Adalı is sometimes used (meaning "islanders").

The president of their association Mazlum Paizanoglou estimates the number in Rhodes as 2500 and in Kos as 2000.

Venizelos–Tittoni agreement

The Venizelos–Tittoni agreement was a secret non-binding agreement between the Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tommaso Tittoni, in July 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference.


Zaforas (Greek: Ζαφοράς) is a small Greek island in the southern part of the Dodecanese chain, about 40 kilometers (25 mi) south of the island Astypalaia.

Dodecanese Islands
The 12 major islands
Minor islands

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.