"The Dodecanese" -- the very name suggests someplace exotic (in fact it is merely the Greek for "twelve islands"!) and these islands, if not exotic, certainly have been providing visitors for many, many centuries a range of extraordinary attractions and experiences. Part of their special appeal comes from the fact that the Dodecanese mostly hug the coast of Asia Minor, far from the Greek mainland. As frontier or borderline territories, their struggles to remain free and Greek have been intense and prolonged. Although they have been recognizably Greek for millennia, only in 1948 were the Dodecanese formally reunited with the Greek nation. By the way, "the Twelve Islands" are in fact an archipelago of 32 islands: 14 inhabited and 18 uninhabited. But they have been known collectively as the Dodecanese since 1908, when 12 of them joined forces to resist the revocation of the special status they had long enjoyed under the Ottoman sultans.