Why is Rhodes Colossus the most famous ruin in the World?

I am sure that all of you heard about the Rhodes Colossus the famous statue from ancient world in the dodecanese Island.

Updated September 2020: We always keep this article updated so you find relevant information so you can better prepare your trip to Greece.

Who built the Colossus of RhodEs

It is the statue of Helios, the Greek sun-god, displayed in the city made by Sculptor Chares of Lindos in 280 BC, a very representative statue of the patron god Helios for the city of Rhodes.

And when we speak about Rhodos, we speak about Greece so we inevitably think about Greece ancient ruins.

The construction of Sun God Helios took 12 years to build.

Rhodes Colossus ancient greece Colossus of Rhodos
The Colossus in Rhodes Helios ancient Greece Island of Rhodes harbor entrance  305 bc

Colossus of RhodEs remains

This statue is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was built to celebrate an important victory of the people of Rhodos over the Cyprus warriors.

To have a clue over the dimensions of the Colossus, I can tell you that it has almost the same size as the Statue of Liberty and it had a white marble pedestal.

According to many historical sources including Pliny the elder, the statue was about 33 metres high, about 110 feet high considered to be one of the tallest statues from the ancient world, as it was larger than most statues.

Archaeologist Ursula Vedder postulates that the Colossus was not located in the harbour area at all, but rather was part of the Acropolis of Rhodes, which stood on a hill that overlooks the port area. (source: wikipedia)

Comparing it with the Statue of Zeus in Olympia which was an enormous seated figure, about 12.4 meters high, about 41 feet tall.

Zeus of Olympia statue was made by the Greek carver Phidias around 435 BC at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Holy temple of Zeus there.

Around 226 BC a massive earthquake took place and during this natural catastrophe, the statue was destroyed.


Colossus of Rhodes remains ancient Rhodes ruins
The Colossus of Rhodes statue ruins of ancient world 226 bc


Ptolemy iii offered to cover the costs for the reconstruction of the statue, but the oracle of Delphi made Rhodians affraid not to offend Helios.

In 653, an arab force captured Rodes under muslim Muawiyah I caliph, and the statue was melted and it was sold to Edessa, a jewish merchant who loaded 900 camels with the bronze obtined from melting the statue.


Alexander the Great and Colossus of Rhodos

At the time the Giant was built, the port was an essential stop on the trade routes linking Greek cities in Asia Minor such as Miletus with the wealth of Egypt, ruled by the Greek Ptolemies.

In the third century B.C. Rhodes had close relate to Alexandria, established a century previously by Alexander the Great.

Alexander the great
Alexander the great


Associated with the Egyptian god Ra, Helios was additionally a crucial deity there.

At the end of the fourth century B.C. war burst out between two of Alexander the Great’s successors: Ptolemy I, king of Egypt, and Macedonia’s king Antigonus I (called Antigonus Cyclops for just having one eye).

Chares of Lindos, a Rhodian carver, was commissioned to construct the Colossus of Rhodes.

Valued across the Greek world, he was a student of the popular artist Lysippus, a favorite artist of Alexander the Great.

As an offering to Rhodes’s essential divinity, the brand-new statuary had to come up to what it represented– the Rhodians’ triumph as well as the god who made it possible.

Ancient sites besides Rhodes Colossus

On the island, besides the statue of Helios, there are many other ancient sites.

The most visited are Ialyssos, Kamiros and Lindos.

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Ialyssos ancient Rhodes ruins

Located in the vicinity of the second-largest city from the island, Ialyssos ancient ruins are one of the best-preserved sites from Rhodos.

After a short walk around the ruins, you will easily observe the influences left by the multiple empires which reign the island. Each of these civilisations left their traces carved on the rocks.

A walk along these ruins is the best way to travel back in time, even if the Rhodes Colossus does not exist anymore, there are still other interesting ruins to discover.

A doric fountain with 4 impressive lion’s heads, a temple dedicated to Zeus and Athena Polias was discovered during the archaeological digs from Ialyssos.

All of these things come from different times and have the characteristics of their world.

Kamiros ancient ruins

In 1929 some ruins were discovered by mistake, the ruins of the ancient city of Kamiros.

The ancient site can be split into 2 parts: the upper part and the lower section.

While the upper part consists mainly into the impressive acropolis, the lower section is formed by traditional ancient greek neighbourhoods.

The highlights of Kamiros ancient city are the huge cistern which occupies the highest point of the city and Athena Kamiros church ruins.

Lindos ancient Rhodes ruins

Over the years, many great empires left their traces over Lindos ruins: Roman, Greek, Byzantine, Ottomans and the Knights of Saint John. They all reconstructed and remodelled the Lindos ancient town.

The main highlight of the place is the Temple of Athena dating from 300 BC one of the best-preserved ruins from the island.

Rhodes Colossus, Kamiros ruins, Lindos and Ialyssos ancient towns are just some of the places which remind us once again about the long history of Rhodos islands.


Greek Ruins who built the Colossus of Rhodes
Greek Ruins – The Colossus of Rhodes Ruins Greece 292 bc


Did you know, that any empires fought over these islands because of their great strategic position ?

All that remains today are some ruins which tell many interesting stories about the island’s history and its role in the world.

The ruins are spread all over the island, so the easiest and fastest way to visit the sites is with a rented car.

You can book your car rental online and pick it up at the airport, at offices in town or directly from the hotel where you are staying.

Get the best price for your car rental today

The island is beautiful and has many hidden places to be discovered.

Take your time and explore the Colossus of Rhodes ruins, a wonderful place filled with ancient historical sites!

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Comments (8)

I was there last summer and loved it. Great article!

Thank you so much, we are glad you enjoyed your time in Greece!

Jen Lai-lyn

We visited Rhodes last June and it was incredibly enchanting with all its rich history! It’s crazy to think just how tall the colossus stood! Thanks so much for sharing x

I went to Rhodes on a family holiday when I was very young, I’d love to go again.

I hope you get a chance and get back someday soon as it is such a beautiful Greek Island.

Great post! I absolutely love Rhodes, especially Lindos. Its such a pretty yet historical place.

I am glad you liked it. We felt in love with this Greek Island, as soon as we explored the beautiful landscape and towns. We also like Lindos very much!

Wonderfully informative and well done!

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