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The Venetian Castle of Astypalea
Nimporio, the main town of Halki Island
The beautiful beach of Apella in Karpathos
The group of Dodecanese islands is a Greek islands group geographically located on the southeastern side of the Aegean Sea, close to the borders with Turkey. The name Dodecanese means "the twelve islands" in Greek, as this is the number of the largest islands of the complex. Apart from these twelve islands, there are a few smaller islands and many uninhabited islets.
Discover our Dodocanese travel guide and explore 12 beautiful islands.
The history of the Dodecanese islands begins in the prehistoric times, but it peaks in the Middle Ages when the islands were conquered by the Venetians. The Venetians built strong Castles to defend the towns and developed an economy based on trade shipping. Remains of this Venetian period are the wonderful Venetian Castles, such as the Palace of the Grand Master in Rhodes, the Neratzia Castle in Kos Town, the Pandeli Castle in Leros and others. Generally, every island of Dodecanese has at least one Venetian Castle.
In the 15th century, the Dodecanese were conquered by the Ottomans, who also left their mark on the local architecture. After a short Italian rule from 1912 to 1947, the Dodecanese islands were finally annexed to the Greek State after the 1947 Peace Treaty with Italy.
The most popular island of Dodecanese is Rhodes, famous for its beautiful Old Town, the wonderful beaches and the lush green nature. Very popular is also Kos, while the rest of Dodecanese are small beautiful islands, great for relaxing holidays.