Lindos, Greece: Everything You Need to Know
Lindos is a traditional Greek settlement comprised of a maze of white cubic buildings on the east coast of the island of Rhodes. It was founded as a small fishing village in about 10th century BC, but due to its proximity to the only natural harbours on the island, soon became an important trading and naval center.
With its natural rock citadel, the town was also a logical site for defending the island from invasion. A mixture of ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman ruins discovered by archaeologists can attest to the fact that Lindos was ruled of a variety of powers throughout its battle-filled and bloody history.
Lindos reached its height of power in the 6th century BC and slowly declined in importance thereafter. Why the decline? The walled city of Rhodes was built about 50 KM to the north and most military, shipping, and industrial forces moved northward.
Places of Interest at Lindos
- Acropolis – completed in 300 BC, and subsequently fortified by the Knights of Rhodes in the 14th century. Inside the nearly inpenetrable stone walls, you can see:
- Long Hellenistic stairway (2nd century BC) leading to the Knight's Castle
- Remains of a Roman temple dedicated to Emperor Diocletian (300 AD)
- Greek Stoa (200BC)
- Greek Orthodox Church of St. John (13th or 14th century)
- Propylaea of the Sanctuary (4th century BC)
- Temple of Athena Lindia (300BC)
- Carving of a Rhodian warship (180BC) at the foot of the stairs leading to the Acropolis
- St. Paul's Bay – recognized as the site where St. Paul landed in 57 AD to spread the message of Christianity in Greece
- Virgin Mary of Lindos Church (aka the Church of Panagia or the Church of our Lady) with its stone bell tower and domed roof. The tower, built in 1489, is decorated with the coat of arms of the Grand Master d'Aubusson
- Tomb of Kleobulus – small stone structure at the tip of the bay. (Although they share a common name, this is NOT the final resting place for the Cleobulus, one of the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece who once ruled the town.)
- Ancient theatre – carved into the local rock
- Ancient cemetery – on Krana Hill (across the highway), where one of the tombs is in relatively good condition
- Main beach – surrounding the natural harbour which made Lindos such a successful naval facility, now popular with sun-loving visitors and recreational boaters.
Explorer's Map of Lindos and the Acropolis
Click to enlarge.
Interesting Facts about Lindos
- The winding layout of the streets was purposely designed to confuse pirates. The strategy appears to have been effective, as the layout continues to confuse tourists to this day!
- The majority of existing houses in Lindos were built in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries with local limestone and field stones. A preservation order prevents further building within the town's confines and protects existing structures from renovation or demolition.
- There are only a few hundred permanent residents in the village, but well over half a million tourists visit each year. If you want to truly enjoy your visit to the ancient city, visit Lindos before 10AM or after 3PM to avoid the hordes of day-trippers.
- The Rhodian Naval Code, drafted in the 7th century BC, forms the core of modern day maritime law.
- Cleobulus, who ruled Lindos in its heyday, was one of the first to support the funding of public works by fundraising amongst the citizenry. His "projects" included the Temple of Athena (550 BC) and the (still-operational) aqueduct system feeding the spigot in the village square.
- While Lindos is accessible by land or water, transportation within the labyrinth of streets are restricted to foot traffic (human or donkey) or moped. If you arrive at the village by car or bus, be prepared for a steep hike (or a donkey ride) to get to and from authorized parking areas located along the highway high above the town site.
- The pebble "mosaics" that are commonly seen in the region are called votsaloto (which translates to "pebbly"). The craft of laying a zigzag pattern of the black / blue and white stones was first developed in Lindos during the Hellenistic period and spread in popularity during the Byzantine era. These distinctive, eye-catching mosaics (in various patterns) can now be spotted throughout the Dodecanese region.
Lindos – it's definitely worth a visit when you're on Rhodes! (But wear comfortable walking shoes to enjoy the experience to the max.)
Exploring Lindos on Rhodes In Pictures
Click on any image to enlarge.