HYDROBIOLOGICAL STATION OF RHODES (HSR)
In 1934, during the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese (1912-1943), following a decision of the Italian governor Μario Lago, the building of the “Reale Istituto di Ricerche Biologiche di Rodi” commenced, in the far north cape of the island. The construction was completed by 1935. In 1937 the building began to operate, studying the hydrobiology, the sponges, fisheries of the Aegean sea and hosting an aquarium with interesting species of the marine fauna of the Mediterranean.
Designed by Armando Bernabiti, the building combines local architectural elements with Art Déco elements of curved lines and circular windows, along with a dominant cylindrical tower. The decoration of the main entrance draws inspiration from the marine environment. The Aquarium consists of a corridor, with small tanks, that host marine species on both sides, made of stone and decorated by natural shells, featuring an underwater cave, while the floor is paved by white and black pebbles, featuring marine species.
Since the integration of the Dodecanese to Greece, in 1948, the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes,belonging to Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, is a very important Recearch Institute on physics, chemistry, biology and geology of the seas and the inner waters, at national and international level.
The Hydrobiological Station also operates as a research museum, hosting the aquarium and an exhibition area added in 1971-1972, on the north side of the building.
The building of the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes is declared by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture a historical preserved building, distinguised examble of the “International Style”architecture.
The Station came into existence during the Italian occupation of Rhodes, and its Art-Deco-inspired exterior and interior have been preserved as a historic landmark. HSR is both an HCMR research unit and a public Aquarium/Museum thus combining research and recreational, educational and awareness - raising programmes. Not only does it conduct aquatic research, participate in conservation programmes e.g. concerning the endangered fish Ladigesocypris ghigi or other aquatic animals), but also carries out educational and awareness raising programs targeted towards various social groups. The Aquarium/Museum attracts many thousands of visitors each year to view its range of species and its interesting exhibitions.
The overall aim of the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes is to develop and disseminate scientific knowledge on the marine environment and its conservation. It is carried out within a dual framework, brought about by its dual function as a Museum/Aquarium. As one of the field stations of HCMR, it carries out research commitments as part of its operational requirements. As a major Aquarium in the Eastern Mediterranean, attracting more than 200.000 visitors annually, it undertakes many public awareness, educational and dissemination activities.