The Acropolis of Lindos is widely considered the most important and impressive archaeological site on the island of Rhodes. The archaeological remains found on it and around the hill are a testament to the wealth of the ancient town.
This natural citadel used to rise at a height of 116 meters and was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St. John, and the Ottomans.
The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking, revealing a dramatic natural landscape and the picturesque beauty of the modern town.
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A Guide to the Acropolis of Lindos
History of the Acropolis of Lindos
Lindos was founded by the Dorians led by King Tlepolemus, who arrived on the island around the 10th century BC, although the first evidence of life here is believed to be dated around the 12th century BC. The settlement was considered to be a part of the Dorian Hexapolis, a group of six Dorian cities in the area.
The eastern side of Rhodes was a natural meeting place between the Greeks and the Phoenicians, and the island grew to be a major trading center around the 8th century BC. During the 7th century, the city controlled most of the shipping and commerce throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
It is said that Cleobulus, one of the Seven Sages of Greece, ruled over the island in the 6th century BC. However, the importance of Lindos as a trading center begun to decline after the foundation of the city of Rhodes in the late 5th century BC.
Archaeology of the Acropolis of Lindos
The temple of Athena Lindia
On top of the acropolis of Lindos lie the ruins of the temple of Athena Lindia. This was a massive temple, of Doric architecture, which was built on the remains of another temple, and took its final form in around 300 BC.
During the Hellenistic and Roman times, the sanctuary precinct grew as more buildings were constructed, gradually growing to be a significant religious place in the wider area. Inside the temple, one can see the table of offerings and the case of the cult statue of Athena.
With the end of antiquity, these buildings fell into disuse and abandonment, and in the 14th century, they were in part replaced by a massive fortress built by the Knights of St. John to defend the island against the Ottomans.
The Castle of the Knights of St John
As already mentioned, the castle of the Knights of St. John was built around 1317 on the foundations of some older Byzantine fortifications. A pentagonal tower on the south side watched over the harbor and the settlement. Generally, the walls and towers follow the natural formation of the cliff, with a large round tower on the east side facing the sea, and two more, on the northeast side of the enceinte.
Today one of the towers at the southwest corner and one to the west survive. The walls have a total circumference that reaches 508 meters in length, while inside the castle one can see the Knight’s coat of arms still hanging intact.
To reach the temple of Athena, one has to pass through the great Doric Hellenistic stoa. The stoa consisted of 87 columns, it dates around 200 BC, and it was 87 meters long. The columns create a wonderful scenic atmosphere. The lateral wings of the stoa had hexastyle prostyle facades (stoa with six columns) with pedimental roofs.
Then one has to ascend the 34 stairs that end up to the Propylaea. The Propylaea of the Sanctuary date around the 4th century, and they consist of a monumental staircase. They were built of porous stone and bear polychrome traces on the upper part.
Overall, if one carefully takes a look at the restored monuments, he can clearly admire the ancient architect’s calculation for perspective and emphasis on theatricality.
On top of the acropolis, the remains of a Roman temple, possibly dedicated to Emperor Diocletian and dating from around 300 AD are still visible. A Hellenistic wall is surrounding the Acropolis, which was probably built around the same time as the Propylaea. A Roman inscription says that the wall and square towers were repaired at the expense of P. Aelius Hagetor, the priest of Athena in the 2nd century AD.
The side part of a Greek Orthodox church, dedicated to St. John, dating from the 12th to the 14th century, and built on the ruins of the previous church, also survives to this day.
Finally, one of the most famous landmarks in Lindos is the well-known relief of a Rhodian trireme (warship) cut into the rock at the foot of the steps leading to the acropolis. Dating around 180 BC, this was the work of the sculptor Pythokritos. The relief served as the base of a bronze portrait statue of Hagesandros son of Mikion, whom the Lindians honored for his contribution to a naval victory of the Rhodians
Visiting the Acropolis of Lindos
It is recommended that travelers visit the island in May, June, September, or October since these months provide some amazing weather to relax and walk around freely. Lindos is just under an hour’s drive from Rhodes International Airport. You can take a taxi, rent a car, or use a bus to get to Lindos. When you get to the Acropolis, be sure to pack a hat and some water, since there is no shade at the top.
Please note there is no access to the acropolis for disabled people.
If you are staying in Rhodes Town you might be interested in the following tours:
– Boat Day Trip from Rhodes Town to Lindos with swim stops and free time in Lindos.
– From Rhodes Town: Day Trip to Lindos by bus
Tickets for the Acropolis of Lindos
The entrance fee for the Acropolis is 12 euros for the full ticket and 6 euros for the reduced.
Free admission days for the Acropolis of Lindos
The last weekend of September
Opening Hours for the Acropolis of Lindos
Summer: Daily 08:00 – 20:00
Winter: To be announced
1 January: closed
6 January: 08:00 – 15:00
Clean Monday: 08:00 – 15:00
25 March: closed
Good Friday (Orthodox): 08:00 – 19:00
Holy Saturday (Orthodox): 08:00 – 19:00
Easter Sunday (Orthodox): closed
Easter Monday (Orthodox): 08:00 – 19:00
1 May: closed
Holy Spirit Day: 08:00 – 19:00
15 August: 08:00 – 19:00
28 October: 08:00 – 19:00
25 December: closed
26 December: closed