Lindos, 2023

By: | Post date: May 14, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

Lindos itself is a Greek village from central casting, complete with whitewash everywhere, claustrophobic alleys (to confound raiding pirates), and flowers spilling out of pots. Still very much a tourist trap, and around every corner there is another shop to cater to the passing souvenir collector, but punctuated with lots of nice villas.
To cater for the tourist staying overnight.
May be an image of 2 people and the Western Wall
May be an image of Santorini
It is quite the hike up to the citadel/acropolis, and enterprising villagers have kept around donkeys, and use them to ferry tourists up and down instead.
May be an image of 3 people and Santorini
Donkeys were in universal use in Greek villages in the 70s. By the 90s, they were effectively extinct, displaced by pickup trucks. Their continuing use in Lindos has made them something of an emblem of the village. The bar I had lunch at called itself the Lindos Ice Bar (although the ice gimmick wasn’t out yet), and its sign was an ice skating donkey.
The donkeys here have a chap following after them with a scooper. Lindos is now a pretty tourist village, and that means no donkey faeces in the middle of the street. (Or at least minimum traces. Outside the village proper, on the stone path up, that stricture is no longer observed.)
Outside of pop history articles, we in the West are not confronted with how full of equine excrement streets used to be. There were no appointed scoopers in my mother’s village in 1980. Nor in New York at any point in the 19th century. I’m hoping my village would at least dispose of the corpses when the equines dropped dead. From what I’ve read, New York didn’t even do that much…
I was here, of course, for the renowned acropolis of Lindos, and its fusion of Ancient Greek and Crusader Western  constructions.
Yes, the acropolis has turnstiles. You are buying a ticket to go inside, after all.
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It is also full of random inscriptions. Don’t worry, they were all catalogued and published a century ago, and they turn up in plenty of online databases.
May be an image of Stone Henge
Classicists are not mediaevalists, and the Danes that excavated Lindos in 1904 got rid of a lot of Crusader stuff. Tourists are not classicists, and the fact that the Crusader stuff was not completely eradicated (unlike in the Athens acropolis) is a lot more of the reason why people come here than classicists might prefer.
May be an image of 3 people and castle
No photo description available.
May be an image of 1 person and monument
The main event of the Acropolis, up top, is the temple of Athena of Lindos to the left, the later Stoa of Psithyros (“Whisper”), an oracular daemon, to the right.
The Stoa is blink and you miss it: after much painstaking work, they’ve reconstructed a single solitary column.
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The temple of Athena on the other hand may be incomplete, but it looks glorious. It looks every bit the jewel worth preserving.
May be an image of the Parthenon
May be an image of the Parthenon
… Although… It does look a tiny bit… well, new, doesn’t it?
Those that love this site of Lindos love it because of the symbolism it provides. A jewel of antiquity, encased, guarded, and complemented by a Western fortress. I’m pretty sure that’s what my friend Dionysis Mertyris had in mind when he insisted I come here.
I’m glad I did come here. But I am a glass half empty kind of guy. I took a different lesson from this site. And I took it from the explanatory placards that relentlessly annotate this place.
The Danes came here, smashed up some of the fortress that guarded this jewel, and the stuff you could cart off, they carted off to Copenhagen and Istanbul. That was business as usual in the archaeology of the time, nothing remarkable.
But then, Mussolini’s archaeologists came here and did the same thing they did to the Grand Master’s Palace in Old Rhodes. They restored the temple of Athena to its current magnificence.
And they thereby destroyed it. When Greek archaeologists came to refurbish the temple in 1985, and correct some of the reconstruction with newer thinking (to make it less tall), they found that the combination of concrete and iron used in the earlier reconstruction had so corroded the original column blocks, almost none of them were able to support the weight they were meant to anymore.
May be an image of the Parthenon and text that says "αρχαίοςλιθος λίθος. ancient stone νέος λίθος, επεμβάσεις 2000 2005 new stone, interventions in 2000 2000-2005 Αναπαράσταση Representation ης Αθηνάς E. Dyggve, Athena (E. Dyggve"
May be an image of the Parthenon
The temple of Athena of Lindos looks brand new, because most of it is brand new: 2000–2005. The original building blocks were crumbling into nothing.
The jewel was over-mythologised, surgically severed from its environment and later context, tinkered with by outsiders, and ruined. It is now a shell and mostly patchwork.
And yes. There are some clear parallels there with the fate of Modern Greece.
… Told you I was a glass half empty kind of guy…

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