Feature: A Dodecanese Guide to Mythology

Greek mythology is scattered with abundant references to the Dodecanese.

  • Rhodes: The island belonged to Helios, the god of the sun. The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was crafted in his likeness.
  • Leros: Leros was once at the bottom of the sea. Artemis (the goddess of hunting) and Selene (the goddess of the moon) persuaded Apollo (the god of light) to help them raise it to the surface.
  • Karpathos: This island was once home to the mighty giants known as the Titans, whom Zeus had to defeat before establishing his pantheon on Mt Olympus.
  • Nisyros: Today’s volcano on Nisyros is said to be the interred Titan Polyvotis, whom Poseidon managed to bury with a chunk of rock he ripped off Kos.
  • Lipsi: Homer’s hero, Odysseus, was distracted by the considerable charms of the nymph Calypso for seven years en route home from the Trojan War. This is her island, described in the Odyssey as Ogygia.
  • Symi: Glaucos, son of Poseidon and a sea god in his own right, endowed his islander descendants with his merman skills of deep diving and holding his breath for lengthy periods – pretty handy attributes for a sponge-diving island.
  • Kalymnos: Supposedly named after the mighty Titan Kalydnos, son of Gaea (the earth) and Uranus (the heavens), who made this his home.
  • Kos: The sacred land of Asclepius, the god of healing. No wonder Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, based himself here, and it became the site of the world’s first hospital.

Feature: The Dodecanese Diet

The Dodecanese have been nominated as 'Gastronomic Region of Europe' for 2019, an indication of the archipelago's rich and vibrant cuisine, largely based on the diets of its seafaring ancestors; there's also an influence of the nearby East in their dishes, evidenced by the presence of more spices. Each island has a delicacy it has originated: Kalymnos for its makarounes (home-made pasta with caramelised onions), Symi for its baby shrimp and chilli flakes; Kalymnos for sun-dried lobster tail and melihlora (peppered sun-dried octopus); Rhodes for its chickpea fritters; Kos for its krasotyri (cheese made from goat milk); and Kasos for kouloures (crispy double baked rolls), to name but a few.