AND GREEK ISLANDS
According to Greek mythology, Kos is the sacred
land of Asclepius, the god of healing.
After his death in 357, the inhabitants of Kos
built the Asklepeion in his honour and in honour
of the god Asklepios.
It was used as a hospital, welcoming patients
from all over the Mediterranean, with doctors
who applied the therapeutic methods of
During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), Kos
was an ally of Athens. That is why the island
had to pay a high tribute when the
Kos became a part of the Eastern colony of the
Roman Empire after 82 BC.
Archaeological finds prove that this island has
been inhabited since prehistoric times.
The Minoans settled on the island around the
14th century BC, followed by the Achaeans and, a
few centuries later, the Dorians came and built
the ancient city of Kos. The Persians conquered
the island of Kos during the 5th century BC, but
were defeated by the Athenians who took control
of the island during the battle of Salamina.
460 BC is the year during which Hippocrates, the
father of Medicine and founder of the first
School of Medicine, was born.
Spartians invaded it in 411 BC. In 394 BC, Kos
became again an ally with Athens and democracy
was introduced on Kos.
This period was characterized by a cultural,
educational and economical growth.
In 335 BC, the island of Kos became a part of
the Macedonian Empire. After the death of
Alexander the Great, his successors the
Ptolemies took control of the island and of the
rest of the Dodecanese.
The Byzantine period brought prosperity and
wealth on Kos, unfortunately threatened by the
constant pirate raids of which the most
dangerous were the attacks of the Saracens.
In 1204 AD, the Venetians occupied the island of
Kos. The Knights of Saint John, who established
on Rhodes, also took the control of Kos in 1315
A century later, they built the superb fortress
that stands today at the entrance of the harbour
of Kos as well as the Castle of Antimachia
In 1522, the Turks took the island and held it
until 1912, when the Italian troupes invaded Kos
and expelled them.
The disastrous earthquake of 1934 almost
destroyed the whole island. The Germans replaced
the Italians in 1943.
The German occupation was a very dark period for
the inhabitants of Kos who endured great
suffering and deprivations. he nightmare ended
in 1945 when Kos came under British rule.
Finally, on the 7th of March 1948, Kos got
united to the newly built Greek State.
Lovely beaches, pretty villages, interesting
sights and a GREAT nightlife: what more can one
ask from a holiday resort. This is considered
one of the hottest party islands, but it has
much, much more to offer than that.
A green, lush island, Kos is an island of many
choices where you either can spend your whole
holiday on a quiet beach in a laid-back village
or party all night in the many bars and clubs.
There is so much to see that a week or two just
won't do, and that's one of the reasons people
keep coming back to the island of Hippocrates.
The island has been quite rich ever since
ancient times, with the exception of times of
enslavement under the Turks and several pirate
attacks. The fertile soil have blessed the
locals with grapes for wine, wheat, fruits and
olives as well as obsidian and rich fishing
Mythology has it that the three giants Phoebos,
Kinnas and Kios fled to this island after they
had been defeated at the great battle of the
gods and the Titans. Heracles supposedly stayed
here for a while after he had performed his 12
labours. His ship had sunk on his way home, and
he managed to swim to Kos, where he met the
angry shepherd Andagoras whom he fought for many
hours. He then sought refuge in the mountains
since king Eurypilos had ordered his arrest, but
managed to capture the king's daughter Chalkiope,
with whom he had Thessalos, future king Of Leros
The king of the Carians led his people to the
island sometime in the 2nd Millennium BC, and
this people from Asia Minor are traditionally
considered to have been one of the first
settlers on this island. They were succeeded by
the Minoans, Cretans, and then, in the 10th
century BC, the Dorians arrived. At this time,
the island was called Meropida.
The people of Kos were forced to doing Persian
forces against Greece in the 5th century BC, but
that changed after the Persians were
the battle of Salamis. After that, Kos was a
full member of the Delian League and the island
was prospering under its democratic
From an early stage, the god of medicine,
Asclepius, was worshipped here, and pilgrims
from all over came to his temple to go through
cleansing rituals, sleep in the temple, and be
cured. It is no coincidence that the father of
medicine, Hippocrates, was born here.
In the 4th century BC Kos joined sides with the
Macedonians, and the Romans conquered the island
in the 2nd century BC. St. Paul the Apostle
visited the island on one of his missions, and
some of the earliest churches of Greece were
built here - you can still see the ruins of a
couple of the, Unfortunately most ancient and
Christian buildings were destroyed in a big
earthquake in AD 535.
With the exception of many pirate raids, Kos
flourished during the Byzantine era . The
Genuans and Venetians ruled the island in the
12th century, but it came under the command of
the Knights of Rhodes in 1315, who taxed the
The Turks occupied the island in 1522, and
massacres and harsh treatment of the people
followed. Kos was given to Italy in 1912, and
freed in 1948
What to See: Starting with the capital, Kos,
there is an interesting archaeological museum,
the Kastro from the 13th century, where the
knights of St. John had a stronghold, the plane
of Hippocrates where he supposedly taught and
read, as well as the Mosque of Gazi Hassan Pasha
There is also an archaeological excavation area
here where ruins from the ancient agora have
been found. Houses, temples, baths and mosaics
from different eras have been found here as well
as the statue of Hippocrates. You can visit the
Roman Villa, Casa Romana, which is a replica of
an ancient Roman house open for visitors.
Asclepion is a must for those interested in
ancient history. Here, the great temple of the
god of medicine lie, and it dates back to the
4th century BC, but might be even older than
Kos has many small villages worth visiting, and
it is a good idea to rent a vehicle and explore
them on your own. Palio Pylio is a deserted
village from Medieval times, where there are
many interesting little churches and a kastro.
In Asfendiou there are very old churches and the
Kastro of the Knights of St. John. Kefalos used
to be the capital, Astypalea, in ancient times,
and there are excavations going on here.
a Byzan-tine church dedicated to
Ag Theodotas, in Antimachia there is a Venetian
castle, Zia is built like an amphitheatre with
many little churches and shops.
You get the best sunsets on the southern
peninsula Moni Agiou Theologou.
What to Do: There are water sports on
several of the beaches. Bubble Beach has natural
wells which are said to be healing. There are
several excursions offered and apart from going
to various beaches, you can also take daytrips
to Rhodes, Nissyros and Pserimos as well as to
Beaches: The most popular beach on Kos is
Paradise beach, a long, beautiful sandy beach.
There are sun beds, water sports and is a good
place for families with children. Other popular
beaches are Tagaki, Mastihari, Lambi and also
the beaches in Kardamena and Kefalos, which most
surfers prefer. If you want to find a quiet
beach it is best to look around on the west
Nightlife: You won't be disappointed if
you want to party a lot during your holidays.
Kos is reputed for being one of the best party
islands, with many bars and clubs, as well as
beachparties. Most of the bars are in Kos town,
and the two most frequented streets the so
called bar mile of Kos are Nafklirou and
Diakonou streets, just next to the
Food: The local specialty is cheese baked
with red wine called "Red Cheese". There is a
wide range of taverns and restaurants, and you
can get Greek as well as international food.
Most places are in Kos town, but you'll also
find many little taverns in the villages, as
well as on several beaches.
Shopping: Because it is such a popular
island, you'll be able to find all kinds of
shops on Kos, especially in the town. Jewellery,
ceramics, leather belts, sandals, clothes,
textiles, embroideries, copies of ancient
artworks, paintings, icons, local wine, honey
and things for the beach and much, much more. A
nice place to visit is the public market just
before the entrance to the archaeological site.
Around the square there are several public
buildings with wonderful architecture and many
Getting Around: There are good bus
connections to many of the villages and beaches,
as well as taxis, cars and bicycles for rent as
well as boats to many beaches. You can make the
sightseeing round of the town of Kos with the
small train that stops at the port, opossite the
taxi staion. There are also daily cruises to
Turkey, Pserimos and other islands.
Getting There: Kos has its own airport so
you can get a direct flight. The island is also
connected with the rest of the Dodecanese with
ferries and Catamarans, as well as Mykonos,
Paros, Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Tinos and Athens
,Piraeus and Alexandropoulis on the mainland.
Every summer there are a lot of charter flights
to Kos and many tourists uses those flights in
order to go by boat to the near by islands of Kalymnos and Leros. There are also small ferries
every day from Mastihari to Kalymnos.
Facts about Kos Phone numbers
Size: 295 sq. km International code: 0030
Population: about 22 000 Local code:
Cash machine: Yes Port Police: 26594
Internet cafe: Yes, Police: 22222
Highest Mountain: Oros Dikeos, 875m
Tourist Police: 24460, 26666
Airport: yes Bus company: 22292, 26276
Tour Operators: Argo, Apollo Tourist
Hotel Association: Taxi: 23333, 27777
Airport telephone: 2242051255 Telephone