RHODES



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Rhodes - Lindosthe Upper town - Acropolis - other ancient remains outside the Acropolis, and the tomb of Cleoboulos.

Around the base of the Acropolis hill are three further important ancient sites. Below the southwest side, and reached by taking a right-hand (south) route through the lower town from the church of the Panaghia, is the ancient theatre (4th century bc), whose cavea of seats is cut into the living rock of the slope. Although only the central part is still visible today, its design is clear with a deep diazoma separating the lower nineteen rows of seats from the upper seven. It would have had a capacity of almost 2,000 spectators. A cut in the centre of the diazoma suggests that the customary shrine to Dionysos, divinity of the spirit of drama, was placed here. Opposite the cavea, and across the orchestra, the position of the original proscenium is marked by cuttings in the rock. Almost contiguous with the proscenium of the theatre are the remaining foundations of a large, almost square, building with peristyle which was constructed over a century later than the theatre. This cloister-like building is referred to as the Tetrastoon; its exact function is unknown. The fact that no fewer than three churches had been built on the site in later times, and that a number of Christian burials were found here, would suggest that it was used for cultic purposes in antiquity, since it was always the habit of early Christian communities to transform places of pagan worship into churches or sacred Christian sites. It was here, in the floor of the now demolished church of Aghios Stephanos, that the inscribed stones with the lists of Athena’s priests were found, as well as the ‘Lindian Chronicle’. The Lindian chronicle In 99 bc the people of Lindos commissioned an inscription recording the dedications that had been made in their temple to Athena since its foundation. Two men were selected and instructed to ‘inscribe from the letters and public records and from any other evidence, whatever might be fitting regarding the offerings and the visible presence of the goddess’. First published by the Danish archaeologist, Chris tian Blinkenberg in 1912, it is known as the ‘Lindian Chronicle’, and is one of the longest inscriptions to have survived from the Hellenistic Greek world. It is now in the Archaeological Museum in Copenha gen. The chronicle gives the name of the dedicator, lists the objects dedicated (with a description of the material from which they were made and any inscription they might possess) and finally gives the ‘sources’ that named and described any objects that no longer existed. The dedications include gold, jewellery, weaponry, statuary (e.g. a ‘cow and calf fashioned in wood’, a ‘wooden Gorgon with marble head’, etc.). Amongst those who made the dedications, are mentioned Cleoboulos, Artaphernes (brother and general of the Persian king, Darius), Alexander the Great, Ptolemy I of Egypt, and Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. A fascinating final section of the inscription narrates three miraculous apparitions of Athena that occurred within the temple: the first during the Persian Wars when the goddess promised to intercede with Zeus; the second giving instructions concerning the proper steps to be followed after the pollution of the sanctuary caused by a person’s suicide there; and the third (which were repeated appearances) during the siege of Rhodes by Demetrius Poliorcetes in 305–4 in which the goddess counseled seeking the help of Ptolemy of Egypt. Both for what it reveals of the ‘historicising’ cast of the Hellenistic mind and its emerging concern for ‘documentary’ authority and record, as well as for what it tells us about cultic practice and experience in the Greek world, the Chronicle is a uniquely important document. From the Tetrastoon and the Ancient theatre, it is a short walk down to the harbour of Aghios Pavlos, where St Paul is thought to have landed on Rhodes . Looking back towards the Acropolis from here, the wide, arching cave which undercuts the rock directly below the Temple of Athena is visible. Its name—Panaghia Spiliotissa (Virgin of the Cave)—indicates that it was a place of early Christian worship, which followed a preceding pagan cult. The walls of the cave bear a late inscription of the 3rd century ad, with the name and title of one of the priests of Athena Lindia, Lucius Aelius Aglochartos—perhaps the same individual who added the inscription to the exedra at the entrance to the acropolis, mentioned above. Round the opposite side of the acropolis-rock, beyond the limits of the lower town and on the slope approximately 100m north/northeast of the acropolis, is a site referred to as the Boukopei­on—a ‘place for the sacrifice of oxen’. A large number of visible Archaic (6th century bc) inscriptions on the surfaces of the rocks on the ground reveal the area to have had early cultic significance. Vestiges of foundations show there to have been also a size able temple of the Geometric period here (10th century bc). Some scholars have conjectured that this is the site of the unusual ‘fire-less sacrifice’ to which Pindar enigmatically refers in his 7th Olympian Ode (l. 48) in connection with Lindos. The sacrifice of oxen unconsummated by fire would certainly be anomalous in the ancient world: equally plausible as an explanation, is that ‘fire-less’ sacrifice may refer simply to offerings of grain and fruit. In the face of the Hill of Krana behind the town, due west of the acropolis—and clearly visible from it, just above the upper line of the area of habitation—is a ruined Hellenistic chamber-tomb known as the Tomb of Archokrates, dating from c. 200 bc. (Access—difficult—is from the southwest corner of the town.) The tomb is now very decayed, although in front of the entrance there is a well-preserved row of four carved altars, bearing the names of the dead. These were originally placed on the deep rock-cut ledge above the entrance, to which access was gained from the hill above. Originally the mausoleum would have presented an impressive 23m façade, formed by a Doric colonnade with decorated frieze above and pilastered wings to either side; this created a monumental entrance to the funerary chamber which was cut into the hillside. More distant, and magnificently sited on the extrem ity of the northern cape of the ‘Great Harbour’ north of Lindos, is the circular monument known as the ‘Tomb of Cleoboulos’. This is reached by a 30-minute walk which is rewarding for its tranquility and its fine views of Lin dos. (From a signed junction half way down the road to the beach from the main plateia at the edge of the town, a path leads out onto the headland.) The terrain is rough and rocky but carpeted in different seasons with asphodel or saffron-bearing crocus, and punctuated by a few tenacious pomegranate trees. The footpath passes beside another monument to Ioannis Zidgis above the bay; half way along the headland are a couple of windmills, one of which is well-preserved, with a doorstep in marble taken from an ancient building. On the southern tip of the headland, is the circular ‘tomb’ (9m in diameter and c. 1.70m high) conspicuously marking the entrance to the natural harbour above a steep drop into the sea. Its fine masonry—well-finished blocks of Lardos marble, regular in form, but not of identical size—and the meticulous precision of its construction would suggest building work of the 4th or 3rd century bc—certainly later than the (Archaic) age of Cleoboulos (see below). At the corners of the entrance the stone is pleasingly drafted: below and to the right is the projection of part of the threshold. A cross engraved above the door records that the building was used in mediaeval times as a church dedicated to Aghios Aimilianos. The building may not actually be a tomb, even though this remains a probable hypothesis: its similarity to the bases of other Hellenistic towers in the area, and in particular to the lighthouse tower of Akeratos on Thasos , would point to other possible interpretations of its function, which do not necessarily exclude a funerary element: the tower on Thasos , for example, was both a monument to Akeratos as well as a functioning signal point and lighthouse. Tradition alone has connected the building with Lindos’s most famous citizen, and since his name occurs several times in this text it may be worth saying a word here about who Cleoboulos was. Cleoboulos and the ‘seven sages’ A figure of patriarchal wisdom, combining valour, humility and moderation, Cleoboulos was considered one of the ‘Seven Sages’—a loosely defined grouping of early Greek thinkers and doers, revered for their wisdom and first recorded as being seven in number by Plato. The group included (in addition to Cleoboulos): Thales of Miletus, Byas of Priene, Pittacus of Mytilene, Solon of Athens, Chilon of Sparta and Periander of Corinth. Herodotus gives several instances of their pragmatism and political acuity in Book I of his Histories. Cleoboulos appears to have been an enlightened leader of Lindos in the early decades of the 6th century bc, and presided over the city’s period of greatest prestige and prosperity. He may have had considerable contact with Solon of Athens; he was a talented poet, and like many of his generation had travelled to, and felt the influence of, Egypt and her culture. The immortal guiding epithet, ‘Nothing in excess’, which was inscribed at the entrance to the Oracle at Delphi, is attributed to him.


Rhodes Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.


access

Rhodes Island, Greece.

By air: With a total of 6–7 daily flights from Athens to Rhodes operated by both Olympic Air and Aegean Airways, Rhodes is easily accessible at all times of year. Its airport is also the hub for local flights within the area to Kastellorizo, Karpathos and Kasos (almost daily), and to Kos, Leros and Astypalaia (three times weekly). There are also daily connections direct to Thessaloniki and to Heraklion (Crete). The airport is 15km southwest of the centre of Rhodes town (€15 by taxi).
By boat: The port of Rhodes is also the principal hub for the Dodecanese Islands, with daily connections to all the principal islands, though the frequency of connections to the lesser islands varies considerably according to season (see entries for individual islands). There are year-round, direct connections by car-ferry to Piraeus (c. 16 hours) every day; and connections to eastern Crete twice weekly. In the holiday season, there are also daily connections (by private carriers) to Marmaris in Turkey. Since the port is large and has several harbours, it is important to ascertain from which part of it a ferry will leave.
The neighbouring island of Chalki is served twice weekly from Rhodes town, but there is a daily service from Kameiros Skala (2 hours). The GNTO office in the New Town (corner of Makariou and Papagou Streets, T. 22410 44335) provides helpful sheets with weekly boat departures, museum opening times, a price-list for taxis and schedules of bus times and fares for the whole island. Its web-site is: www.ando.gr/eot

Rhodes Travel Guide

eating

Rhodes Island, Greece.

Rhodes offers some of the best and most varied eating possibilities in the Aegean— although in the city itself, the visitor will need to explore outside the Old Town to sample the best Greek food. Within the walls of the Old Town, unimaginative and often overpriced tourist-fare prevails; we would suggest only: the -Marco Polo (see lodging, above); Dinoris Restaurant (upper medium price) in a tiny alley across from the entrance to the Archaeological Museum— an elegant and traditional taverna of long standing, one of the few in the Old Town regularly frequented by locals; Photis Restaurant (expensive; open all year) in Menekléous Street—also an elegant and well-established fish restaurant, where the undoubted high quality and presentation of its dishes compensates for the hauteur of the reception and service. At lunchtime, -Indigo (medium price), inside the Nea Agorá market building (at no.105/6) beside Mandraki harbour, offers delicious, finely prepared dishes from the cuisine of Greek Asia Minor. Further afield (but without question worth the short taxi-ride) in Zephyros, southeast of the city centre, is the -Paragadi fish restaurant (medium expensive; corner of Klaude Pepper & Australias Streets: reservation recommended, T. 22410 37775) with an exceptional quality of service and of seafood and fish dishes, prepared in the best and simplest manner. This is one of the best fish restaurants in the Dodecanese. Nearby, open all year, and usually packed with locals, is To Steki tou Cheila (inexpensive) at the southern end of Kodringtonou St., on the corner of Hadjiangelou and Dendrinou Sts: the symiakó (tiny shrimps) and the wine are both fresh and delicious.
Around the island: Mavrikos in Lindos (expensive; reservations, T. 22440 31232) is a fine and justly famous restaurant with pleasing setting, serving many homemade products. The excellent and panoramic -To Limeri tou Listí ("The robber"s den") in Prophilía (T. 22440 61578) in the central south of the island, certainly merits the long journey and represents one of the best places to eat on the island: it has imaginatively and care fully prepared traditional dishes of the highest standard, e.g. a light and unforgettable imam bayaldı. Nearby, Petrino in the picturesque plateia of Váti, is a good country taverna with fresh and unaffected cuisine.

Rhodes Travel Guide

further reading

Rhodes Island, Greece.

Cecil Torr, Rhodes in Ancient Times and Rhodes in Modern Times (first published by CUP in 1885, both now re-issued by Archaeopress ‘3rd guides’, Oxford); Lawrence Durrell, Reflections on a Marine Venus (Faber & Faber, London, 1953); H.J.A Sire, The Knights of Malta (Yale, London & New Haven, 1994); Vassilis Colonas, Italian Architecture in the Dodecanese Islands, 1912–1943 (Olkos Press, Athens, 2002); Elias Kollias, The Mediaeval City of Rhodes etc.,(Ministry of Culture, Athens, 1998).

Rhodes Travel Guide

lodging

Rhodes Island, Greece.

The most beautiful and characterful place to stay in the Old Town of Rhodes is the -Hotel Marco Polo (T./fax 22410 25562, www. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; open May–late Oct) at 42 Aghiou Phanaríou Street, not far from where it joins (the main) Sokrátous Street at the Mehmet Agha Mosque. With architecturally fine rooms of great individuality, and the thoughtful and friendly service that goes with private ownership, this is a memorable place either to stay or just to dine on its imaginative, traditional food in the peace and quiet of a mediaeval walled-garden. Elegant, modern luxury at a higher price, in an enviable location just off the Street of the Knights, is offered by the newly opened -Avalon Boutique Hotel (T./ fax 22410 31438/31439, www.avalonRhodes .gr), which is open all year round. The Old Town also has many small and characterful pensions: worthy of mention are, The Apollo Guesthouse (T. 22410 32003, www.apollo-touristhouse.com) and Hotel Andreas (T. 22410 34156, fax 74285, www.hotelandreas.com), at 28c and 28d Omírou Street respec tively (contiguous, but under separate management) not far from the St John/Koski nou Gate, and overlooking the ancient church of Aghia Kyriaki. Both are relatively inexpensive, and inhabit interesting buildings; the rooms are comfortable, but small. At Ippodámou Street, 61, is the delightful S. Nikolis Hotel (T. 22410 34561, fax 32034, www.s-nikolis.gr). These last three close between late October and the week before Easter. In the winter season, the New Town has a number of hotels which are open year-round and offer more conventional services and convenience. Comfort able and satisfactory, without being too big or expensive, is the A-class Hotel Mediterranean (T. 22410 24661, fax 22828, www.mediterranean. gr), opposite the Casino at 35 Kos Street; most rooms have good sea-views. Exceptional value year-round is represented by the Esperia Hotel (T. 22410 23941–4) at 7 Griva Street which is warm, pleasant and strictly functional: the pool-side rooms are quietest.

Rhodes Travel Guide

practical info

Rhodes Island, Greece.

851 00-09 Rhodes : area 1,401sq. km; perimeter 220km; resident population 115,334; max. altitude 1,216m. Port Authority: 22410 22220, 28888, 28666. Travel and information: www.travel-Rhodes .com

Rhodes Travel Guide

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