Lindos is an archaeological site and a town on the east coast of Rhodes island, in the Dodecanese, Greece. It is about 55 km south of the town of Rhodes and its fine beaches make it a popular tourist and holiday destination. Lindos is situated in a large bay and faces the fishing village and small resort of Haraki.
Above the modern town rises the acropolis of Lindos, a natural citadel which was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Ottomans. This makes the site difficult to excavate and interpret archaeologically. The acropolis offers spectacular views of the surrounding harbours and coastline.
Lindos was founded by the Dorians led by the king Tlepolemus of Rhodes, who arrived in about the 10th century BC. It was one of six Dorian cities in the area known as the Dorian Hexapolis. The eastern location of Rhodes made it a natural meeting place between the Greeks and the Phoenicians, and by the 8th century Lindos was a major trading centre. Its importance declined after the foundation of the city of Rhodes in the late 5th century.
In classical times the acropolis of Lindos was dominated by the massive temple of Athena Lindia, which attained its final form around 300 BC. In Hellenistic and Roman times the temple precinct grew as more buildings were added. In early medieval times these buildings fell into disuse, and in the 14th century they were partly overlaid by a massive fortress built on the acropolis by the Knights of St John to defend the island against the Ottomans.
Lindos provides a mix of history, beaches and the marina. It has only 700 inhabitants, who are outnumbered greatly by tourists. The village has many historic houses known as “Captains” houses, often dating from 16th, 17th or 18th century. The village is made up of a network of cobbled streets – all of which is entirely pedestrianised. The only modes of transport allowed are donkeys, mopeds and bikes. The houses are like small whitewashed boxes and sit beautifully on the hillside making it the most beautiful place on the island. The charm of this village is maintained by a preservation order which forbids any unauthorised building work to change it.
Nearby are the settlements of Lardos, Pefkos, Kalathos.
Lindos beach and Saint Pauls beach are only a short distance from the town centre.
Lindos is a small town, so walking around on foot is a decent option. However, as Lindos is built on the side of a steep hill, the roads can be quite difficult, and climbing up to the acropolis is definitely an effort. There are two alternatives. A bus will bring you down from the main arrival bus stop outside the center of the city to a square closer to the sea – it’s not far, but quite a change in elevation. If you wish to go on top of the acropolis, you can rent a ride on a donkey for about € 6.
Acropolis of Lindos
On the acropolis of Lindos today parts of the following buildings may still be seen:
- The Doric Temple of Athena Lindia, dating from about 300 BC, built on the site of an earlier temple. Inside the temple is the table of offerings and the base of the cult statue of Athena.
- The Propylaea of the Sanctuary, also dating from the 4th century BC. A monumental staircase leads to a D-shaped stoa and a wall with five door openings.
- The Hellenistic stoa with lateral projecting wings, dating from about 200 BC. The stoa is 87 metres long and consisted of 42 columns.
- The well-known relief of a Rhodian trireme (warship) cut into the rock at the foot of the steps leading to the acropolis. On the bow stood a statue of General Hagesander, the work of the sculptor Pythokritos. The relief dates from about 180 BC.
- The Hellenistic staircase (2nd century BC) leading to the main archaeological area of the acropolis.
- Remains of a Roman temple, possibly dedicated to the Emperor Diocletian and dating from about 300 AD.
- The Acropolis is surrounded by a Hellenistic wall contemporary with the Propylaea and the stairway leading to the entrance to the site. A Roman inscription says that the wall and square towers were repaired at the expense of P Aelius Hagetor, the priest of Athena in the 2nd century AD.
- The Castle of the Knights of St John, built some time before 1317 on the foundations of older Byzantine fortifications. The walls and towers follow the natural conformation of the cliff. A pentagonal tower on the south side commanded the harbour, the settlement and the road from the south of the island. There was a large round tower on the east facing the sea and two more, one round and the other on a corner, on the northeast side of the enceinte. Today one of the towers at the southwest corner and one to the west survive.
- The Greek Orthodox Church of St John, dating from the 13th or 14th century and built on the ruins of a previous church, which may have been built as early as the 6th century.
Restaurants and bars
Lindos has many restaurants, all catering to tourists, and featuring food from every nationality you can think of. All staff are English speaking and menus are written in English. Most bars serve breakfast up until mid-afternoon so there is plenty of variety and choice. In terms of convenience food, there are several snack bars and several ‘crepe houses’ serving both sweet and savoury crepes – made fresh before your eyes – at very reasonable prices.
Lindos has a wealth of different bars catering to all tastes. Many have rooftop gardens where you can watch the sun go down (or rise) as you drink. All bars are welcoming to children and many have restaurants as well. There are two nightclubs within the village itself and an open air club which can be accessed by a short taxi ride and which stays open until the very early hours of the morning.
Things to do
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing: Strong winds and wavy water conditions makes this the perfect spot for freestylers, racers and kite-surfers. Both in Ialysos and in Ixia Bay you’ll find organized windsurfing and kitesurfing centres. Take this opportunity to learn windsurfing in Rhodes, one of the best windsurfing locations in Europe – or improve your technique in perfect conditions. There are also good conditions for kitesurfing near Fane on the northwest coast of the island, between Ialysos and ancient Kameiros at ‘Meltemi at Delfini’.
Scuba diving in Rhodes: Here you’ll find information and booking opportunities for some Rhodes diving centers. Rhodes offers many great diving spots where species of flora and fauna of colour and beauty should be reason enough for you to experience scuba diving.
Waterhoppers Diving Schools S-3431
45 Kritika, Rhodes 85100, Greece
Tel: (+30) 241 38146, Fax: (+30) 241 38146