(Open Apr–Oct 8–7.30; Nov–Mar 8.30–2.30; closed Mon only in winter.) The inhabited settlement was never contiguous with the acropolis, but separated by a clear break of open rock and pine-trees. Visible to the right before reaching the entrance gate to the acropolis, are ancient votive inscriptions to the gods cut into the facets of the rock outcrops beside the pathway. (A couple—one particularly long— may be seen clearly from the path as you climb up, at about shoulder height and higher, on the outcrop of naturally faceted rock to the right-hand side, just as the path turns right into the last straight stretch up to the entrance.) Once through the outer gate, there is a shaded terrace punctuated by three prominent mouths of large, plaster-lined Byzantine cisterns: the acropolis had no spring within its walls, and depended on water collected in such cisterns; there are many more above, on the summit. At the first turn in the path the visitor is faced with an impressive -votive relief of the stern of a ship, and to its left a dedicatory exedra—both skillfully carved into the living rock. Though contiguous, these are two separate dedications. An inscription on the side of the ship states that the work was ‘dedicated to Agesander, son of Mikion, by the people of Lindos’, and that it was the work of the Rhodian sculptor, Pythocritus of the 3rd/2nd centuries bc. Delicate chisel and point work can still be seen on the surface. Stylistic similarities have linked the piece and its artist to the Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre. The kind of ship meticulously portrayed here possessed two rudders or steering paddles: visible are the helmsman’s station on the near side, and a part of the serpentine shape of the rudder holding (something similar can be seen on a Venetian gondola). A break in the carving shows where a sculpted rudder itself would have projected downwards—if not in stone, perhaps added in wood. The boat’s deck acted as the base for a statue of Agesander, possibly wearing the golden crown referred to in the inscription below. The exedra to the left may be a little earlier; it surrounds a base on which an honorific statue would have stood. Much later, in the 3rd century ad, the long inscription (originally picked out in red) was added by Aglochartos, priest of Athena Lindia. To the left of the present stairs leading up to the acropolis there are vestiges of the ancient Sacred Way and steps. Much higher up to the left, is a flight of 14th century steps added by the Knights of St John, which originally gave ac cess directly into the Governor’s Residence by means of a wooden drawbridge. The Residence—now extensively restored—dates from the period of Grand Master Pierre d’Aubusson (1476–1503) and bears his arms in grey Lardos marble high up on the exterior wall: its interior was once painted with garlands, landscapes and coats of arms. These have faded considerably, and some areas have been removed to safety in Rhodes ; the building now houses the local archaeological offices. The security of the building relies—as does the whole enceinte of walls—on the natural defences of the steep site, rather than on anyenious military architecture. Some substantial machicolations can be seen high above the main door however. The vaulted entrance, containing a number of capitals and finely inscribed altars and statue bases, gives onto an inner esplanade covered with many more of the same. This (only a fraction of the total number on the site) gives some indication of the forest of votive statuary in bronze and marble, as well as paintings and other works of art, which would have greeted the pilgrim in ancient times: in addition to the mute evidence of these fragments, writers (Philostratos, Plutarch and Pliny) also mention the works of art and spoils of war which were dedicated here—each piece vying for attention with the next. The plateau of the acropolis is a roughly triangular area of 8,400sq. m rising to a height of 116m. The layout we see today dates from a building program begun in the 4th century bc; before that the Archaic Sacred Way had led across the open area, from the entrance directly up to the Temple of Athena at the summit. Some part of its paving can be seen in the floor, beside the long base of a Hellenistic monument, in the undercroft beneath the Governor’s Residence reached by turning sharply to the left. This pas sage in turn leads out onto another esplanade crowded with more fragments of broken monuments. To the right, a line of (restored) vaulted chambers, originally built in the 1st century bc and used as storage spaces, support the first terrace of the grand approach to the Temple of Athena, created during the Hellenistic re-building. Just in front of the foot of the staircase that divides this line of vaults, is a rare and pleasing curiosity—a block of stone on the ground which fortuitously preserves an ancient mason’s sketch of a piece of lifting machinery, scratched into the surface facing away from the steps. To the left is a dark grey marble exedra which—according to the inscription at its back—was surmounted in the 3rd century bc by a bronze statue of Pamphilydas, priest of Athena. At the northern (left) extremity of the area once stood a Roman pro-style temple (no longer visible), which faced towards the Temple of Athena. The wide area in front, littered with ancient material, shows how four different colours of stone have been used on the acropolis: *Lardos marble; an indigenous, mottled-grey marble quarried a few miles to the west of Lindos, sometimes tending to a solid, dark grey, used especially for in scribed surfaces; *Cycladic marble (from Paros/Naxos ); small amounts of this have been used, mainly for sculptural needs or decorative refinement; *a homogeneous, deep rust-red ‘poros’ limestone from the area of Atavyros; *the honey-coloured ‘poros’ limestone of the native rock of the acropolis.
Rhodes Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.