BEYOND the sun, sea and sand, the Greek island of Rhodes is steeped in thousands of years of heritage and legend.

Next year marks 700 years since the founding of Rhodes Medieval Town, just one of the historical treasures that can be explored on the island.

And 2009 will also mark 250 years since the ruins of Kamiros were discovered in the west of the island.

Kamiros was once the third most important city in Rhodes and remains one of the best preserved classical archaeological sites in Greece.

The city was built on a hill with an acropolis at its highest point and nowadays the extensive ruins are open to visitors.

Among them are the foundations of the temple of Athena Polias, a large cistern reservoir capable of supplying 400 families and the remains of private houses, built around courtyards.

On the opposite coast of Rhodes, the city of Lindos flourished in the same period as Kamiros, but has remained inhabited continuously for around 3,000 years.

Lindos Acropolis – which is dominated by the massive temple of Athena Lindia, dating back to around 300 BC – is another of Rhodes’ most interesting historical sites. It sits on a hill above the medieval town of Lindos, well-known for its white-washed buildings and narrow cobbled streets.

The most famous ancient monument in Rhodes is, unfortunately, untraceable today, although it remains a key emblem of the island.

The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – a giant statue of the Greek god Helios that was said to stand over 30 metres tall at Mandraki Harbour.

Legend dictates that the Colossus was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC and it was recorded by Pliny the Elder that its broken remains lay where they fell for centuries afterwards. Visitors to Mandraki Harbour will today find two statues of Rhodian deer in the location the Colossus was said to have stood.

Mandraki Harbour lies just outside the fortified walls of Rhodes Old Town, the medieval city which was founded by the Knights of St John in 1309.

The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe.

Attractions in Rhodes Old Town include the Street of the Knights, which leads up to the Grand Master’s Palace, a strong fortress and former headquarters of the leader of the Knights.

The palace today serves as a museum containing important archaeological finds from ancient and modern Rhodes.

To find about more about the historical attractions of Rhodes, visit