Rhodes and the Dodecanese: Places to Explore

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Lindos

Lindos, cradled between two harbors, had a particular importance in antiquity. Before the existence of Rhodes town, it was the island's principal maritime center. Lindos possessed a revered sanctuary, consecrated to Athena, whose cult probably succeeded that of a pre-Hellenic divinity named Lindia; the sanctuary was dedicated to Athena Lindia. By the 6th century BC, an impressive temple dominated the settlement, and after the foundation of Rhodes, the Lindians set up a propylaia (monumental entrance gate) on the model of that in Athens. In the mid-4th century BC, the temple was destroyed by fire and almost immediately rebuilt, with a new wooden statue of the goddess covered by gold leaf, and with arms, head, and legs of marble or ivory. Lindos prospered into Roman times, during the Middle Ages, and under the Knights of St. John. Only at the beginning of the 19th century did the age-old shipping activity cease.

Lindos is remarkably well preserved, and many 15th-century houses are still in use. Everywhere are examples of the Crusader architecture you see in Rhodes town: substantial houses of finely cut Lindos limestone, with windows crowned by elaborate arches. Many floors are paved with black-and-white pebble mosaics. Intermixed with these Crusader-era buildings are whitewashed Cycladic-style houses with square, blue-shuttered windows.

Like Rhodes town, Lindos is enchanting off-season but can get unbearably crowded when summertime pilgrims make the trek from Rhodes town daily and passage through narrow streets lined with shops selling clothes and trinkets slows to a snail's pace. At these times, an overnight visit allows you to enjoy the town's beauties after the day-trippers leave. Only pedestrians and donkeys are allowed in Lindos because the town's narrow alleys are not wide enough for vehicles. If you're arriving by car, park in the lot above town and walk the 10 minutes down (about 1,200 feet) to town.

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