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Lindos, Rhodes: Small village, big history


You'd hardly know it to look at the village of white vacation villas and homes spilling down to the shore, but you're looking at one of Europe's oldest continuously-inhabited spots.


Today it's a quiet place in the winter, with a population of around 3,000, which grows to many thousands more when summer comes to the islands. Note the difference...


You'd never guess to look at it, but nearly three thousand years ago, it was one of the six main cities of Dorian Greece and a major trading point between Greeks and Phoenicians. Lindos is one of the Greek cities that Homer lists among those who sent ships and warriors to the siege of Troy.

P1010305The only real clue to the past is the huge fortress at the top of the hill, the Acropolis of Lindos. At a glance, a medieval fortress—not what you think of as acropolis, although the word itself only means the highest point in a city—but that's because everyone who's ruled the area built on top of what they found; the fortress was built in the 14th century by the Knights Hospitaler who ruled Rhodes then, and added to by the Ottomans who replaced them.


Underneath all that lie the remains of at least nine other buildings, now somewhat scrambled by clumsy excavations during Italian rule in the 1920s and 30s. The excavators apparently paid little attention to what was on top of what, didn't label much, and put the most picturesque bits out along the entrance pathway without noting where they had come from. In recent years, some attempts have been made to restore order.


We didn't get to visit the Acropolis; it was closed in winter, so we missed, among others, remains of Greek buildings from the 4th through 1st centuries BC, Roman temples and repairs from the 1st through 3rd centuries AD, followed by Byzantine fortifications that came after that, the Crusader fortress on top of that (and hiding the rest from sight from below. And then the Ottomans extended and built on top of that.

P1010306P1010308Access to the Acropolis of Lindos is a bit of a climb for some; for them the Lindos taxi services above can make the trip easier (although online travel columns often comment on the small donkeys, their often-large passengers and their sad expressions.)


The modern village sprawls below the Acropolis and down the slope to the beach. While the overall look of Lindows is white and shining, it has a hidden secret, exposed in this house, where the disparity has become an artistic feature. The mosaic walk is recent, the inspiration is ancient.



The square white box motif has some other exceptions as well...


And down near the beach, some even more unusual accommodations, which I assume without evidence are used as beach cabanas rather than residences.


The beach itself is not wide, but summer can certainly squeeze quite a few in, here and at the town's other beaches.



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  • Greek-Beaches

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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