Kos belongs to the Dodecanese.
      The Dodecanese aren't twelve islands, as someone  would  believe  from  the name but 20 islands.
            Kos is in third place after Rhodes and Karpatho. It is located south of  Kalimno and north of Nisiro. Kos  climate  is  sweet winter or summer

      The today's capital of  Kos which has the same name is one  of   the  most  beautiful  cities  of  Greece.  Is  situated  in a  verdant  district on the north-east of the island. at the back of an open bay.  Around the port you can still see the ruins of the ancient city and the castle, built between 1450 and  1478 after the Knights of St. John took over the island.

     Kos is known throughout the world as the  birthplace of Hippocrates. He is  known as the father of medicine (460 B.C.), because  until  he r escued  it  from the  priests  and  charlatans, it  was not a  science but  practice of magic  and sorcery. He introduced and systematically classified new methods for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and  described  conditions,  which are today named for modern scientists. The Hippocratic Oath established his as the greatest medical Mind of the time, and  the  Oath  is  considered  the  most  significant  of  his  writings.  Even  today,  all  doctors  throughout the world take the Hippocratic Oath.


        Kos name hasn't  changed  from the ancient years till today. Some people  believe  that the  name  Kos has  came from  the name of a queen  daughter of  Triopa King the second who's named Koos. Some other say that  the  name is owed  to the kariki  word  Koion either  because  the  island has the shape of a lamb or  because  there were a  ot  of  lambs  in  Ko: some other support the island named in that way which implied prison.

       The island was in inhabited from the Neolithic  years, as it is proved from Neolithic exhibits in Aspropetra's cave near to Kefalo.
Many  mythological  traditions  of  Greek  ancients  are  reported  in the  settlment and some characteristic events in  Ko during the  prehistorically period.  According  to such  tradition the giants, children  of  the sky  and  the soil  when they  lost  in  the  terrifying battle against Olympus Gods, got away.

     God  Poseidon  who hunted the  giant Poliboti cut  with  his  trident a piece  from  Ko, he threw it against Poliboti and killed him. Relevant with  the  above tradition is the mythologica  information  that the giants Koios, Foibos  and  Kinnos got away to Ko. According to those myths many heroes and semi gods  have  visited  the island.     It seems  that  the first inhabitants of the island were  Pelasgoi and Leleges.         

        Another  tradition  mentions  that  Meropes who where  creative  people, built  the first ancient city of the island and  they  gave  the name  of  the King  Meropa's daughter  Astipalaia.  Successor of  Meropa the first,  was  Triopas the  second. To the flourishing years of Crete, Minoas the second for all that he  became master of almost the whole  Mediterranean and threw  away  Kares  from   the  most  islands, he  preferred  not  to harm the inhabitants of Ko and  retain of friendship with them.

        After  Triopa the  third  his  son   Eudaimonas became king of the island.  Later around  1300 Hercule's and  Astioxis son and king of  Rhodes  Tripolemos, asserted and the island Ko.
      In anciet Ko, Aesculapius the Intir and Hercules have been adored. The  ancient  Koos  to respect  the  god  of  medicine  have organized  ceremonies  in  which  they  offered sacrifices. Of course in ancient Ko, some other gods have been admired such as: Dias,  Dimitra,  Dionusos, Hera, Afroditi.
      The most ancient city of Ko was Astypalaia. This region is corresponding with the today's sea place  Palatia  near  to the  village Kefalos.

Archeological Sites


       One of the  most  remarkable  archaeological sites of the island  is the  Asklepion, possibly  the best and certainly  the  most  renowned   hospital of its time.  Its  famous  spa, with running mineral waters, was used to treat skin diseases.
Situated  on  a  pine clad hill  4km  from Kos town the Asclepion was a  Temple of  Worship,  Health and Art. Dedicated to the  god  Asclepios, it dates  back  to  probably  the  4th  century  BC. Hippocrates practised medicine here and founded his own school.

Only the foundations and some pillars have remained from the splendor of the Temple  of  Asklepios, as well as pillars of the arcade that is  thought to have  been part of  Hippocrates'  Medical School.  Also surviving the millenia is  the plane  tree of Hippocrates tutored his students under the shade of its rich foliage.
   The International Hippocratic Institute was recently built near the  Asklepion as  a public  welfare  foundation whose aim is the  realization  of  the  Hippocratic  principles of humanized medicine. World-renowned cultural and medical personalities and institutions. In fact the Museum of Medicine has recently begun to function, with noteworthy exhibitions, collections of books, stamps, coins and busts related to Hippocrates

The Castle

       The castle of the Knights standing on the right side of the harbour. The impressive building of the island is cavalier's castle. The cavaliers  came to Ko  to the middle of the  14th  century.  Built  between 1391 and 1396 the  castle  is situated  in  the centre of  the  Kos Town  alongside the harbour.
        They  immediately  understood the  great  meaning of a fort for the city's protection  and for the entire island.  Today  the castle is built in two main groups an internal and an external.  The  main  entrance  is  located to the plane   tree's side.  It has three tap arch bridges, a  narrow pass and a moving  gate-bridge.  The impressive  castle's view of Kos cavaliers, everyone can admire if he  walks to the  west  side of the castle's external and the impressive  tower is the semicircular of  Ntel  Kareto that it  is  located to the south - west edge of the external group.     

The Plane Tree of Hippocrates

       This historic tree which is considered by many as the  oldest  tree in Europe,  stands in front of the entrance to the Knights  Castle.  It's trunk  has a   circumference  of approx - imately   twelve  meters, and according to tradition  it was under  this very  tree  that   Hippokrates taught   medicine to his  students.  Next  to  the  Platanos,  there is an ancient  Sarcophagus, which during  the Turkish occupation  was used as a water trough for the nearby Mosque.                                             

Ancient City

      In the north eastern part of Kos town, near the harbour lies the Ancient T own, 50  metres south of the  Plane  Tree, these  ancient ruins   dating   from   4th  century  BC  are  made  up  of   an  early Christian Basilica, temples of Pandemos, Aphrodite, Heracles, and  the Agora.                                     

Gymnasium of Xystos

Located next to the main  road out of the  town, these  ruins date back  to   4th/3rd  century  bc.   There  are  seventeen  restored  columns  of  white  marble,  in   Doric  style,  remains of the Western Warm  Baths  from  the  Roman  Era, over  which  an  early  Christian  Basilica  was built,  and  notable mosiacs.


    To the  south across the main road is the Odeon, a theatre which  was   unearthered  in  1929  and  is  adequate  proof  of  the  artistic standards of the Koans.
     It is  in quite good  condition, with  eighteen marble steps.    The construction of this  Amphitheater  was  based on  vaulted  arcades.  Inside    these  Arcades  some  ancient  statues  were   discovered,  including the one of Hypocrites, which  is displayed in the museum.

Casa Romana

   Located  a  short  distance  from  the  Odeon  is the restored Roman House. A Pompeii style house, it has richly decorated marble floors, wall  frescos,  mosiacs and columns.                                    

The Archaelogical  Museum of Kos

    Situated in Eleftheria sqaure in the centre of the town, it houses  many  treasures  from  both   hellenistic and  Roman  times, dating back to 3rd century BC.

last updated: October  2nd  2003 / Ketty Apostolou

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