Kos Sightseeing


One of the most important archeological monuments in Greece is found on the island of Kos. Asklipieio was founded in the 4th century BC, in the slopes of a low hill, overlooking the shores of Asia Minor and served as a place of leisure and treatments. Located at a short distance from the ancient city of Kos and near the springs of Vourinna and Kokkinonero, it was surrounded by a sacred cypress grove.

Asklipieio is linked to the work of the founder of Medical Science: Hippocrates. Hippocrates established the Medical School of Kos, where he and his students were treating with traditional methods any known illness. Their symbol, which is also the symbol of Medicine, is the snake, since this animal has the ability to trace therapeutic plants.

This vast area included temples, various worshiping and decorative buildings, monuments, sculptures, archways, baths, a library, yards where the patients were treated, springs, statues and wells for ritual treatments while it was built on various levels of the hill interconnected with magnificent stairways. Many Gods were worshipped in Asklipieio, like Apollo, who was the father of Asklipeios, Zeus Ikesios, Athena Fatria, Apollo Karneios and Moires (Fate). Asklipieio was protected by a sacred law and it was highly honoured with athletic and religious events throughout the year.  

The search for the exact location of Asklipieio started at the end of the 19th century. With the help of various salvaged, ancient sources, the famous German archeologist Rudolf Herzog with the help of the historian Jacob Zarraftis, a native of Kos, indicated the place where the excavations later started and brought to life this marvel of history.

Casa Romana
Casa Romana, meaning “Roman House”, is an impressive building that was discovered and restored by the Italian archeological mission between 1933 and 1936. The building’s area is of 2.381 m2 and its architecture is of Pompeian rhythm, has 26 rooms, galleries and impressive mosaics. The wealth found in Casa Romana proves that in Kos there was a great middle and an upper social class that desired to demonstrate its power, status and elegance through the decoration of their residences.

The Conservatory was built in the 3rd century AD. Below the seats’ area there were 2 semi-circle archways and various rooms that were used either as shops or as workshops. The internal archways of the Conservatory were decorated with marble statues of the Hellenistic and the Roman Period, which are now displayed in the Museum of Kos. The Conservatory was used by the Senate for various meetings and it also served for numerous musical events, including sessions aiming to honour  the Roman Emperors with chanted praising comments.  

The residence of Komentori Francesco Sans
This building is located on Miaouli coast, inside the perimetrical walls of the medieval city. It’s the only non-administrative building left from that period, built in 1514 by Kos’ Komentori (Governor) Francesco Sans, and it consists of 2 arched rectangular halls. Initially, its main façade was towards the west, on Messologiou Street. During the Turkish Occupation, the building was used as a coffee house and two more doors were opened on its eastern side. It was restored by the 4th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities and it’s now being used as a library and an exhibition venue. The crests of the Gran Magister Fabrizio Del Carretto and of Francesco Sans, dated back to 1514, can be seen on the upper right side of the western entrance.  

Ancient Acropolis - Seragia
The Mycenaeans moved to the island on 1450 BC and numerous findings from that period were revealed in the hill of Seragia (today’s Old Town), where parts of a settlement and a fortification wall emerged after the excavations. The Necropolis on the southwestern part of the city belongs to the same era and it was built atop the ruins of an older prehistoric settlement.  

The Medieval Town
Pre-earthquake Kos was a typical town of the 18th and 19th century, divided in districts. Rich Turkish or Greek families were living in Hora and had a country house outside the walls. The town had separate neighborhoods for Christians, Jews and Muslims. Around 1928 the Italian conquerors started renovating the big public buildings. The disastrous earthquake of 1933 basically flattened the entire city and gave the Italian administration the chance to restructure it into a new modern capital, with all archeological sites fully integrated in the urban plan.

The Castle of the Knights
The Castle of the Knights or the Castle of Neratzia was built by the Knights of Saint John of Rhodes and it dates back between 1380 and 1514. It was constructed with stone from the area’s grounds and materials from other buildings. The entire building is  impressive, not to mention imposing, with  4 interior circular towers, gun ports, battlements, bastions and a massive drawbridge. The oldest tower on the left of the drawbridge still has the blazons of Gran Master De Milly and Gran Master De Lastic. The museum of the Castle of the Knights, whose building used to be the Knights’ warehouse, is located at the northern area and boasts several old inscriptions, marble sculptures and altars.    

Hippocrates’ plane tree
This perennial tree is located just across the entrance of the Nerantzia Castle and the Loggia Mosque. The fountain of the mosque bears an Arabic inscription with references to the “Water of Hippocrates”. This plane is at least 500 years old and, according to the tradition, it was planted by Hippocrates himself and he used to teach under its thick shade.  

City’s fortifications
The wall of the ancient city of Kos had the shape of a ring, with a perimeter of 4 km including the settlement, as well as gardens and groves. Its northern side can be still visited, as it is an important part of the archeological site of the Port and the Market.

Archeological Museum
The Archeological Museum of Kos houses findings from all the excavations that have taken place on the island since the beginning of the 20th century at the areas of the Market, Asklipieio, the Temple of Dionysos, the Observatory and Casa Romana. This beautiful two-storey building is located on Eleftherias Street in Kos Town and the majority of the exhibits are statues, busts, sculptures, mosaics and other items from the Hellenistic and the Roman era, including the statue of Hippocrates and beautiful mosaics with the figures of Asklipeios, Orpheus and Hercules.

The Castle of Antimachia
The Castle of Antimachia is not even nearly famous as the castle of Neratzia in Kos town, but it is of equal importance and boasts a rich history too. The castle was built by Saint John’s Knights to fortify the island’s defense and its interior was totally inaccessible by sea. Its most important historical moment was during its siege from the Ottomans in 1457, when 15 knights and 200 locals resisted for 23 days and made the 16.000 soldiers Turkish army to abandon the island. In its interior you will see the churches of Agia Paraskevi and Agios Nikolaos, as well as remnants of the church of Virgin Mary the Eleimonitria.

Mount Dikaio
Mount Dikaio or Oromedon is the highest one in Kos with an altitude of 846 meters. An altar dedicated to Zeus is located on its peak and it’s said that the area was probably inhabited from the prehistoric era. The Greek monk Arsenios Skinouris created two cells on Dikaio in 1079 and, later on, the Monastery of the Metamorphosis of Jesus was established there. You will also see parts of a wall, water tanks and other ruins that belong to a small fortified settlement, dated back to the Byzantine and the Medieval era.

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