group of islands in the Aegean Sea, off the southwestern coast of Turkey, and constituting the nomos (department) of Dhodhekanisos, Greece. The city of Rhodes is the administrative centre. The name Dodecanese means "12 islands." The term has been applied at various times to groups differently composed and numbering more than 12. The main islands of the Dodecanese group, with their Italian names in parentheses, are: Karpathos (Scarpanto), Patmos (Patmo), Kasos (Caso), Astipalaia (Stampalia), Lipsoi (Lisso), Leros (Lero), Kalimnos (Calino), Nisiros (Nisiro), Tilos (Piscopi), Khalki (Calchi), Simi (Simi), Rhodes (Rodi), and Cos (Coo) and the outlying Kastellorizon (Castelrosso). Their land area is 1,031 square miles (2,670 square km). (See also Astipalaia; Cos; Kalimnos; Karpathos; Kastellorizon; Leros; Patmos; Rhodes.
Learn more about Dodecanese with a free trial on Britannica.com.