by Alexey Repka © 2015
An aerial view of St Paul’s Bay, near the town of Lindos on the eastern coast of the Greek island of Rhodes.
Like its more famous namesake on Malta, St Paul’s Bay is reputed as a place where the apostle Paul came ashore during a storm. (You could take the fact that he endured two notable storms at sea as a sign of good luck, bad luck or divine intervention, as you like. Being of a sceptical turn, we’ll put it down to coincidence.)
Rhodes (Rhódos (Ρόδος) in Greek) is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands – as the name implies, a group of 12 large islands and several smaller ones just off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. It’s the easternmost of Greece’s islands.
It has quite a history. In ancient times its people had a reputation for being excellent sailors. It was also commonly used as a place of exile by the Romans – readers of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius will recognise it as the island where Augustus exiled Tiberius for a while. In the Middle Ages it was the base for the Knights Hospitallers’ control of the Dodecanese for over two centuries until the Ottomans forced them to flee to Malta. The Dodecanese didn’t emerge from Ottoman control until 1912, but only to fall to the Italians, who’d just annexed Libya and took the islands as guarantee for their peace treaty with the Turkish Empire. After the Second World War they finally became Greek once again for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.