Tag Archives: Lindos

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird – Avoiding the Crowds (1)

Rhodes - Street of the Knights

On the first morning we woke early and went to the Street of the Knights because this is one of the best preserved/restored medieval streets in Europe and we wanted to get there before the crowds.

As soon as the cruise ships arrive and discharge their guests onto the quayside hundreds of people make straight for this place and it immediately loses its atmosphere and its charm.  At eight o’clock in the morning however there was no one about except the odd delivery man and it was possible to soak up Mussolini’s fascist  interpretation of the medieval street.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

Restoration and Renewal

I used to think that reinterpretation and restoration was rather a shame but am now persuaded by Henry Miller who wrote of the the reconstruction and interpretation of the Minoan Palace at Knossos on Crete:

“There has been much controversy about the aesthetics of Sir Arthur Evans’s work of restoration.  I find myself unable to come to any conclusion about it; I accepted it as a fact.  However Knossos may have looked in the past, however it may look in the future, this one which Evans has created is the only one I shall ever know.  I am grateful to him for what he did…” 

Substitute Italians for Arthur Evans and he could easily have been talking about the Acropolis at Lindos.

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My Personal Greek A to Ω – H (Eta) is for Hρακλῆς or Heracles

Heracles was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus he was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of a royal dynasty and a champion of the Olympian order against its challengers and enemies. Along with Alexander the Great and Helen of Troy he is also listed among those who visited one of the most sacred sites in Ancient Greece – the Acropolis at Lindos on the island of Rhodes.

Although our visit will not be recorded alongside that of the greats we went there in 2010 and explored the village where the tourist shops and bars petered out to be replaced with narrow streets of local houses where the smell of fresh moussaka and tide washing powder seeped out from behind the windows and doors.  At the far end of the village there was an ancient amphitheatre, almost two thousand five-hundred years old and so adjacent to the modern buildings that it is certain there are more hidden treasures concealed below them which must have archaeologists drooling with anticipation.  Here history stretches back over three thousand years because in the Middle Ages Lindos grew to prosperity under the Knights of St. John who built their impregnable fortress on the site of the ancient Acropolis.  So much of the medieval village has survived that it has been declared a national landmark.

It was a real delight to walk around the narrow streets with their traditional, distinctive, white and black chochlaki pebbled surface because no vehicles other than the odd delivery van are allowed inside.  The village feels authentic because little or no changes can be made to the buildings, many of which have survived since the fifteenth century, and the architectural style of the village is a mixture of Gothic, Byzantine Greek and middle Eastern influence.

While we were there we had to visit the Acropolis.  We had waited until Sunday because sometimes museums and archaeological sites are free on the Sabbath so we thought it was worth the wait until the last day in Lindos.  When the time came to tackle the steps I was disappointed to find that you do have to pay on a Sunday after all.  The walk and the climb to the entrance to the site actually turned out to be the easy bit because once inside there was an energy sapping ascent up a steep stone staircase with a sheer drop on each side to the entrance to the medieval fortress which was built by the Knights of Saint John in the fourteenth century to defend the island against the Ottoman Turks.

All of this medieval history is here on Rhodes because in 1309 the Island was occupied by forces of the Knights Hospitaller and under the rule of the newly named ‘Knights of Rhodes’ the city was rebuilt into a model of the European medieval ideal.  Many of the city’s famous monuments, including the Palace of the Grand Master, were built during this period.  The citadel of Rhodes, built by the Hospitalliers, is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe, which in 1988 was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There were some good views from the top as I walked first through the foundations and the towers of the castle and the Byzantine church and then to the very top and the ancient Acropolis itself, the Doric Temple of Athena Lindia, the Propylaea of the Sanctuary, a huge staircase and a Hellenistic Stoa and finally the remains of a Roman Temple.  Although hundreds of people visit this place every day four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon turned out to be a very good time to go indeed because there were no more than a dozen or so people here right now so it was easy to walk around and admire the ruins undisturbed.

They are ruins of course but some of the buildings and columns have been restored and in the twentieth century there was a lot of archeological and restoration work carried out by the Italians when they were in control here between the two world wars.  Unfortunately some of the work they carried out wasn’t that good and as well as incorrectly reinterpreting some of the construction they also used poor quality materials and a lot of the reinforced concrete they used has begun to fail leading to even worse damage than they tried to rectify and most of this work is having to be done again at great cost under the supervision of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

I have said before that for me there are two types of visitor attractions, one where you go to see things (paintings, mosaics, sculptures etc.) and one where you go just to experience having been there.  Lindos is one of the latter so after I had walked in the footsteps of Heracles and experienced the mystical rush of classical Greece washing over me I left the Acropolis and walked back down the slippery path to the village below and stopped for a very modern day pizza and a beer!

Greece 2010, Fortresses, Palaces, Knights and Ramadan

Early next morning we heard the self opinionated bankers  leaving for the next leg of the journey to Kos and we were pleased that they had gone.  For our last full day in Rhodes we had saved the visit to the Palace of the Grand Masters as we anticipated that this might be one of the highlights so after a second excellent breakfast on the terrace prepared by Sofia we set off again towards the heart of the old medieval city and the street of the Knights and at the top the Palace itself.

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Greece 2010, Lindos to Rhodes

It took an hour and ten minutes to get back to Rhodes using for most of the journey the same road that we had taken to drive to Lindos three days earlier but on this occasion thankfully bypassing Falaraki and Kalathea and arriving at just about lunch time.  From the bus stop we walked through noisy Ippokratous Square and back to the little taverna where we had had lunch on the first day for a drink, a short rest and some map interpretation.  It turned out that the Sofia Pension wasn’t that far away and after our drink we found it easily within ten minutes.

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Greece 2010, Two Almost Similar Days in Lindos

The walk and the climb to the entrance to the site actually turned out to be the easy bit because once inside there was an energy sapping ascent up a steep stone staircase with a sheer drop on each side to the entrance to the medieval fortress which was built by the Knights of Saint John in the fourteenth century to defend the island against the Ottoman Turks.

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Greece 2010, Lindos and the Knights of St John

Here history stretches back over three thousand years because Lindos grew to prosperity under the Knights of St. John who built their fortress on the site of the ancient Acropolis.  So much of the medieval village has survived that it has been declared a national landmark.

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Greece 2010, Symi to Lindos

The ferry docked in Rhodes just before half past nine and already the harbour was busy, noisy and as hot as a pizza oven.  We had to walk about five hundred sweaty metres to the bus stop where we purchased tickets for the Lindos bus which was due in about ten minutes time.

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Colossus of Rhodes

I visited the Dodecanese island of Rhodes in 1998 for an end of season bargain holiday.   It was a holiday when accommodation was allocated on arrival and we did rather well because we were given a room at the Rodos Palace Hotel at Ixia on the coast just outside of the town of Rhodes.

This is a five star hotel that is used by the President of Greece no less for his summer holidays but I expect he gets a garden VIP suite with private pool whereas we only had a standard family self catering garden apartment.  We had no complaints about this however and we enjoyed staying in one of the nicest hotels that we have ever been to.

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