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The picturesque settlement of Lindos as we know it today, with its whitewashed limestone houses reflecting on the azure immensity of the Aegean, was built on the remains of an ancient, Dorian town that once thrived at this very foot of the steep-sloped rocky hill. Dazzling beaches offering their crystal-clear water for swimming and scuba diving, the delectable local cuisine and a bustling night light are but some features making of Lindos a favorite destination for thousands of visitors.
Traditional Lindian Architecture
Given its location as well as a long marine tradition, Lindos has over the centuries become acquainted with a high variety of cultures (Byzantine, Ottoman and Arab) by which the settlement was influenced. Typical of such influence is the style of the so-called \Kapetaneïka\ (literally: Ship-Master Mansions) dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th Century. Folk craftsmen working on those projects have obviously outdone themselves in putting the best of their skills to create stone-cast sculpted yard gates, door and window casings, pebble-made mosaic floors and some truly exquisite ceiling paintings.
Amongst the Kapetaneïka mansions and the whitewashed houses, there also emerge several Byzantine cloisters, built between the 11th and the 15th Centuries – such as those of St. George Pachimachiotis, St. George Hostos and St. Demetrius. Frugal and austere in their allure, these religious constructions nevertheless contribute to the overall image of this dazzling white settlement.
Not to miss… (Must-do)
The Lindos Citadel (Acropolis)
The Citadel is situated on too of a 116 m. high rocky hill, its location indeed making of it a unique terrace over the Aegean sea. Tradition has it that the founders of this citadel – or, better said, of the ancient shrine around which the citadel was to develop - were the 50 Danaïdes - all of them daughters of Danaos, the mythical hero of Ancient Argos – who traveled to the island from Egypt, where they used to live and decided to dedicate a temple to Goddess Athena (Minerva).
The Citadel of Lindos has always been central to the life of the settlement. The pre-Hellenic origins of its name along with certain prehistoric human remains found in the area all witness on human presence in this area already since Neolithic times. The cult of Goddess Athena (Minerva) is believed to have been launched in the Citadel sometime in the 9th Century B.C., during the so-called Geometrical period. Later on, during the Archaic Years, the island took a very active role in the Hellenic Colonization campaigns. The predominant figure in Lindos, in the 6th Century, was Cleobulus, one of the famous Seven Sages of Antiquity. It was then that most of the wide range, impressive works of infrastructure were developed and major art works – amongst which the Archaic Temple dedicated to Goddess Athena (Minerva) on the Citadel – were created.
The expansion of Persians in the area of the Aegean, along with the establishment, sometime later, of the settlement of Rhodes in the northern part of the island, were factors that eventually induced a gradual diminution of Lindos economic and cultural importance. Still, the world-renown temple on the Citadel was to remain very much active as a place of worship throughout the Hellenist and the Roman period, having by then been acknowledged as the most important amongst shrines of its kind in the wider area.
Archaeological excavations in Lindos carried out over the years from 1900 to 1914 under the direction of Professors Kinch and Blinkenberg at first and later on under that of Professor E. Dyggve of the Carlsberg Foundation of Denmark, led first to a thorough search of the entire zone up to the natural rocky mass, thus unearthing practically all of the Citadel monuments as well as the Lindos Necropolis, situated in the hilly area all around; such first wave of excavations was succeeded by a second one, as of which a more systematic study of monuments already unearthed, was conducted.
The Ancient Theatre
Situated on the southwest side of the rocky hill, immediately below the temple to Goddess Athena, this ancient theater consists of a circular chorus parterre and spacious tiers for the spectators, all of them masterfully carved in the very slope of the hill. Also visible are the so-called Proedreies, i.e. special seating arrangements around the chorus parterre, reserved for prominent spectators. The area reserved to the common spectators – koilon in Greek, consisted of 19 rows of seats underneath the main tier and another 7 rows above it. Out of the 9 tiers, only five have been preserved. This theater is believed to have been of a seating capacity of 1800 spectators. Excavations carried out in the area off the far end of the stage brought to light the remains of a four-gallery building, believed to have been used for religious rites. In later times, the premises were successively occupied by three Christian shrines.
Church of Virgin Mary
The Church of Virgin Mary (15th Century) is a cross-form religious construction featuring an eight-angle cupola, whitewashed walls, tile-covered roof and floors covered with black and white pebble-made mosaics. This church is known for its exquisite hagiographies, dating from 1779 and created by Gregorios, a renowned folk hagiographer originating from the island of Symi. The imposing belfry and the heraldic symbols of the knights are reminiscent of the island’s medieval past.
Papakonstantis Museum A traditional Kapetaneïko house, built in the traditional way of Lindos and open to the public.
Sights in the surrounding area:
Tharri (Byzantine Monastery)
Within some 4 km distance from Laerma village, one comes across the stony walls of the Archangel Michael Monastery. Built between the 9th and 10th Centuries and set against a lush green valley, this establishment still resists to electricity (it is lit by candles only).