Visit Kos island in Greece for its beauty and history

Visit the island of Kos in Greece, one of the most beautiful islands of the Dodecanese but what to do in Kos in Greece?

A lot of things. There is something for the most exigent visitor. Visit its archaeological sites, its medieval castles, its museums, temples and temenos etc. Make sport (diving, surfing, paragliding, hiking in the green nature of the island), enjoy its beautiful beaches bordered by turquoise-coloured waters. It is also the ideal island to have fun … Kos, the island of Hippocrates, attracts many tourists from every single part of the world … Its an island chosen by the gods and it is of no coincidence.

1. Map of the island of Kos Greece below: Kos has 40 kms length and  9 kms width. It is the third largest island in the Dodecanese archipelago. It is located 3 kms from the coast of Turkey.

 

 

 

 

2. The history of Kos : Kos is quoted in Homer’s Iliad as an island that contributed to the Trojan War in 13th cent. BC. Kos is reputed in ancient Greece as the land of Hippocrates (460-357 cent.BC) with a large medical center. The Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem arrived on the island at the beginning of the 14th A.D. The island remains under the Ottoman yoke 400 years from 1525 and then, it is controlled by Italy until 1943, by Germany until 1945 and by England until 1948.

3. How to go to Kos? Kos has an international airport and the main cities of Europe serves the island. You can also arrive on the island of Kos by boat from the other islands of the Dodecanese. To visit the island of Kos, it is advisable to have rented a scotter.

 

Eleftherias square in the town of Kos

4. Accomodation in Kos island? Personally, I went to Kos with my husband and my daughter 3 years old, in June 2011, and we stayed in the luxurious hotel called Aegean houses (photo above on the right). It is 10 minutes from the city of Kos. We had a great studio: very big and very clean. A great place to recharge our batteries.

5. What to do in the city of Kos Greece: You must be prepared to see great things in this city. Anyway, you will spend a lot of time in it … If you use your car, better not ignore the traffic in the city, especially in the narrow streets of the city. Visit the medieval towers of the city decorated by palm tree alleys (see photo below) and have a rest on the beautiful flowered lawns. In the port, you will be impressed by the double wall that frame the coast and the Castle of de Neratzia; The well-preserved castle of the Knights of the Order of Saint John.

a) The old town of Kos. Kos is the name of the island but also the name of the main city of the island. It is most of the time sunny and presents some beautiful archaeological sites. An island with a great history that will attract all the lovers of ancient Greece.

   

b) The Agora of Kos. In the west side of the castle, you will find the ancient Agora of Kos (4th-3rd cent BC) and in the west side of the city, you can discover the former gymnasium Xysto (2nd cent BC, see picture above on the left) : You can distinguish some 80 columns, ruins of Roman roads, Roman baths, houses, mosaics and even an ancient Orthodox Christian church.
c) Casa Romana. Further in the west side, you will be able to admire « Casa Romana » (see the 2 pictures below), a built house on the ruins of an ancient Greek house. It has been restored by the Italians and has extraordinary mosaics. See below a superb mosaic depicting the « Abduction of the Princess Europe by Zeus ». To the north of the Casa, you will discover the old Odeon (3rd cent.BC still well preserved. There musical competitions were taking place. It was discovered during the excavations of 1929 and many ancient statues were found including the one of Hippocrates (4th cent. BC) which today adorns the Archaeological Museum of Kos (photo at the bottom on the right)

  

6. The Archaeological Museum of Kos is worth a visit, after a cafe taken on the large square Eleftherias (photo lower on the right). It is in the center of the city near the harbor in a beautiful building adorned with many finds: statues, amphora-es and figurines. We can admire the statue without head of Asclepios with the demon Telesphore at his feet, the statue of Hygeia (health) holding a snake and having her assistant Hypnosis (sleep) at its feet. You can also see the statue of Hermes …. etc.

7. Kos was the homeland of Hippocrates, the founder of medical science. Near the castle, you will see the eternal plane tree 10 m (perimeter), supposedly planted by Hippocrates 2,500 years ago and under which the great Doctor taught. Today it is a place where there are painters in the street (2 pictures below).

Four kms southeast of the city of Kos, go to visit the Asclépieion of ancient Greece or the sanctuary of healing, dedicated to the god Asclepios, son of Zeus. It was discovered in 1902 on a hill covered with pines and opening to a very beautiful view. We know 300 Aclepieions (Aesculapiums) from greek antiquity and the 3 most famous of them, the one of Kos was the most important because it was the exact location where Hippocrates taught. The building has three levels:
  • Upstairs, there was the Asclépieion temple (Doric style),
  • Further downstairs, there was another temple of Asclépieion, a temple of Apollo and an altar (4th cent BC)
  • Downstairs, there was a small temple of Xenophon, a portico and a set of buildings that housed the school of Medicine etc and it is not far away from the thermal baths.

My experience: Kos is known today for its waves of intense tourism in summer, which does not always help the natural atmosphere of the island. The tavernas, cafes and pubs of the city of Kos are crowded in the evening … thing that was not all unpleasant when I was young. To really enjoy the island as a beautiful one, try to visit the island in June, in early July or in late August and then September of course. Anyway, there is always ample places for you for example on all the beautiful beaches of the island. Its green mountains are there to joyfully welcome you and refresh you. Its villages remain picturesque … (below one of the beaches of Kos and my favourite village of Asfendiou. Palio pyli is also one of my favorite places on the island of Kos.

  

Byzantine town in Palio Pyli with castle and churches (11th Cent. AD)

Have you ever been to Kos island ? What could you tell us about this island ?


 

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