Greek Trip, Day 16, Sunday 3 October 2010, Rhodes
After Lunch at Lindos, we walked back to the car and drove up into Lindos itself. I have said a little about the town before. Now I need to say a little more.
The following photo taken from the Acropolis looks down on the harbour where we were swimming. You can see how protected the harbour is. That protected harbour made Lindos a natural place of settlement, while its location made it a valuable trading point between Greece and the Phoenicians. By the 8th century BC the original Dorian settlement had become a major trading centre. The town's importance declined after it joined with other cities to found the new city of Rhodes, but it remained an important religious centre.
The "modern" town of Lindos nestles below its acropolis. I say modern, because most buildings apparently date from the 17th century. It's a pretty place with its white houses and narrow streets. The guide book says that many of the houses were once the homes of wealthy admirals, but have since been purchased and restored by "foreign celebrities." I have no idea about the admirals nor indeed the celebrities! However, I can see why the the place attracts so many tourists now.
Our main aim in visiting the town itself was actually to visit the acropolis. I had no especial desire to climb up yet more steps after Moni Tsambikas: a very steep hill!, so we decided to go up by donkey.
Now here there was a problem, for we had just missed the last donkey train!
Wife and youngest daughter strode off ahead to walk up. I was going to follow, but got sidetracked. When I looked up Dee and Clare had vanished! I thought of catching up, but the extra effort proved just too much!
I wandered around for a while, and then ended up in the square chatting with a Spanish bloke who bludged a cigarette from me. He had come across from Spain to work on resort developments, but found that work had vanished with the Greek economic collapse. There was no work at home - Spain too has very high unemployment - so he was just eking out a living doing whatever odd jobs he could get.
While we were still picking up details of Greece's economic troubles and the associated demonstrations from the press, as tourists you don't get a real feel of the problems lurking just below the surface.
Listening to wife and daughter on their return, I really should have made the effort to to go up to the acropolis. It's huge and historically variegated.
As you can see from the following photograph, it has a Frankish feel from the outside, and indeed it was occupied and extended by the Knights of Rhodes and then the Ottomans, but the original building is much older than that.
Wikipedia records that in classical times the acropolis of Lindos was dominated by the massive temple of Athena Lindia, which attained its final form in around 300 BC. In Hellenistic and Roman times the temple precinct grew as more buildings were added. Lindos' role as a religious centre attracted pilgrims from round the Mediterranean including the ubiquitous St Paul who reportedly called on his way to Rome.
In early medieval times these buildings fell into disuse, and in the 14th century they were partly overlaid by the massive fortress built on the acropolis by the Knights of St John (Rhodes) to defend the island against the Ottomans.
Despite the overlays, enough remains of the earlier structures to give a feel for what once was. Here the Italians with their desire to reclaim the Roman past both helped and hindered through their reconstruction efforts during their occupation of the Dodecanese.
I do wish that I had visited. I have an added degree of frustration because I found the on-line material on the site quite patchy.
With the party all back together again, we repacked the car to return to Rhodes.