Lindos was founded by the Dorians led by the
king Tlepolemus of Rhodes, who arrived in about the 10th century BC. It was
one of six Dorian cities in the area known as the Dorian Hexapolis. The
eastern location of Rhodes made it a natural meeting place between the
Greeks and the Phoenicians, and by the 8th century Lindos was a major
trading centre. Its importance declined after the foundation of the city of
Rhodes in the late 5th century.
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. In early mediaeval times these
buildings fell into disuse, and in the 14th century they were partly
overlaid by a massive fortress built on the acropolis by the Knights of St
John to defend the island against the Ottomans.
On the acropolis of Lindos today parts of the
following buildings may still be seen:
- The Doric Temple of Athena Lindia, dating
from about 300 BC, built on the site of an earlier temple. Inside the
temple is the table of offerings and the base of the cult statue of Athena.
- The Propylaea of the Sanctuary, also
dating from the 4th century BC. A monumental staircase leads to a D-shaped
stoa and a wall with five door openings.
- The Hellenistic stoa with lateral
projecting wings, dating from about 200 BC. The stoa is 87 metres long and
consisted of 42 columns.
- The well-known relief of a Rhodian trireme
(warship) cut into the rock at the foot of the steps leading to the
acropolis. On the bow stood a statue of General Hagesander, the work of
the sculptor Pythokritos. The relief dates from about 180 BC.
- The Hellenistic staircase (2nd century BC)
leading to the main archaeological area of the acropolis.
- Remains of a Roman temple, possibly
dedicated to the Emperor Diocletian and dating from about 300 AD.
- The Acropolis is surrounded by a
Hellenistic wall contemporary with the Propylaea and the stairway leading
to the entrance to the site. 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 Castle of the Knights of St John,
built some time before 1317 on the foundations of older Byzantine
fortifications. The walls and towers follow the natural conformation of
the cliff. A pentagonal tower on the south side commanded the harbour, the
settlement and the road from the south of the island. There was a large
round tower on the east facing the sea and two more, one round and the
other on a corner, on the northeast side of the enceinte. Today one of the
towers at the southwest corner and one to the west survive.
- The Greek Orthodox Church of St John,
dating from the 13th or 14th century and built on the ruins of a previous
church, which may have been built as early as the 6th century.