Echoes of the Middle ages and whispers of the ancient Greek world, but also a cosmopolitan nightlife, lots of crowded beaches and large hotel complexes are woven together in a fascinating tapestry of a five thousand years history in one of the most famous islands of the Mediterranean Sea.
The third biggest island of the Dodecanese complex lures visitors with innumerable historical monuments, wide golden sandy beaches and large beachfront hotels; while a building craze is noticeable everywhere.
Although traces of the Venetian rule and Knights of Rhodes are dominant all over the town of Kos, the evident wealth of the ancient Greek heritage is steadily making an impression. If you drive a car in the town be careful of the traffic, you will be probably better of renting a bike.
The medieval castle
At the edge of the port the well preserved Castle of the Knights of the Order of St. John (Neratzia Castle) impresses with its double wall enclosing the coast. The fortification continues to Mandraki – the old port – which is also the busiest location of the island. The castle is open to visitors (tel. +30 22420 27927).
Take a walk in the city
In the area between the castle, Akti Miaouli, Hippocratus, Akti Kountouriotou street and Eleftherias square, important findings have been unearthed. This section of the town is ideal for walking as there are many places to stop for a coffee or shopping.
Remains of the ancient wall of the 4th century BC coexist with ruins of the 5th century AD basilica, relics of ancient sanctuaries of the Hellenistic period and Corinthian pillars from the temple of Aphrodite Pandemos. At the west side traces of ancient roads lead to the Gymnasium, the Nymphaeum(3rd century A.D), the Roman baths and the early Christian basilica. The roman house(3rd century A.D.) with the striking mosaic of “the capture of Europe and Dionysus” is also noteworthy.
Take a breath under the plane tree where Hippocrates, the famous doctor of the antiquity taught his pupils the art of medicine. Today is a meeting point of street painters (Tourism Information desk tel. +30 22420 24460)
Before stopping for a cup of coffee at the pleasant Eleftheria square visit the archaeological museum that houses representative samples of the ancient Greek world such as statues, mosaics, vessels and sculptures ( tel. +30 22420 28326).
Beaches near town
To the east of the town, the Psalidi beach covered with volcanic sand, offers many facilities. The same setting repeats itself towards the shore of Agios Fokas and ends at the beach Ebros Thermes where hot springs flow into the sea. Following the road leading to the north part of the island, you will meet the Zipari village.
Tigaki shore with its golden sand and crystal blue waters offers opportunities for water sports, while those who prefer peace and quiet should continue to the Marmari beach, near Pyli village, 17 klm. away from Kos.
Do not miss
Situated outside Kos (3 km) the most famous archaeological site of Kos the Asclepeion (4th century B.C). The sacred hostipal of antiquity where Hippocrates received his training was built in three terraces (andirons) on a piney slope. The site fully-organized, has many cool areas for resting. In the summer there are re-enactments of the Hippocratic oath, which is one of the most significant texts handed down by the father of Medicine (tel. +30 22420 28763).
Copyright photo: Theo Athanasiadis / Views Of Greece
Copyright text: Germaine Alexakis/ Views Of Greece
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