Kos Island

Didim / Kos / Didim Depart 07.00 am
Return 20.00 pm Greek Island

Kos has a rich and long history that spans over 6000 years, from the prehistoric years of the Minoan period. Excavations in 1922 by Italian archaeologist Doro Leibrought brought to light finds that prove Kos was alkready inhabited from the Neolithic period. There are even references of Kos in ancient Greek mythology, of heroes and demigods visiting the island, even of Archilles and Hercules. Perhaps one of the most favorite myths is of Poseidon; God of the sea, that set off in pursuit of the Giant Polybotes, as he was passing Kos, and snipped off a piece of the island with his trident and hurled it at him, killing Polybotes. The severed piece formed the neighbouring islet of Nisyros, this is a possible explaination for the natural truth that Nisyros had once been a part of the island of Kos. Due to its strategic location, the island of Kos being very near the coast of Asia minor and placed in the middle of shipping trade routes, it did not take long for the island tor ise in prominence and for its potential to be realised. During the Bronze Age period (2800-1600 BC) Kos was very active in creating ornamental and commercial pottery that has been discovered from recent archaeological excavations, and confirm the development of the island’s trading activities and the evolution of Kos’s unique style of potery. A tradition that is stil carried on to this day with several old pottery factories stil creating beautiful amphora and vases by hand, that make wonderfukl souvenirs to take back home. Moving on to the Geometric and Archaic Age, where Kos participated in the Trojan war with some thirty ships. The island then became inhabited by the Dorians. The ruins of several buildings still survive from this age as well as numerous examples of the Geometric style of pottery that marked that time period. During the Classic Age, Kos became the epicenter of the Ancient world again, with the birth of Hippocrates the ‘father of medicine’ in approximatley 460 B.C. Hippocrates took the first scientific approach towards curing ailments, and developed the art of healing by using medicinal therapies consisting of local herbs and botanicals. He was the first physician to reject superstitions and beiefs that ailments were created from supernatural or divine forces. Emphasizing a clean environment, sanitary conditions and a vigorously healthy lifestyle and a proper diet, many of his recommendations are still the best advice anyone can recieve today to stay in shape. Hippocrates is credited with conducting early surgeries, the use of anesthesia, attending to the ill in one of the first organised hospitals in the world, known as Asklepeion. The ruins of which still stand on the outskirts of Kos towna sight which is a must see when in Kos. And of course the famous plane tree of Hippocrates, where he used to teach his pupils under its shade, can stil found standing by Kos harbour! Although today’s experts are reluctant to admit its the exact same tree, but more likely an off-shoot of the original. Kos probably reached its peak during the Hellinistic and Roman period, where it became a center of commerce and a major port in the Mediterannean. During this time the Ancient Agora was built, a large marketplace which stil stands, where goods from all corners of the Roman Empire could be purchased or traded! Many Roman temples were constructed during this time as well as some fabulous Roman villas that have still survived such as Casa Romana, with magnificent frescoes and mosaic floors. As time tolled on, and the world entered th Christian and Byzantine periods, Kos maintained its prominence, expanded settlements and constructed numerous churches and yzantine monasteries, making the islandsomewhat of a religious epicenter of the time. Deffinitley worth visiting are the 11th-14th century churches up in Zia mountains; St Georgios, Panagia in Monagri and Monastery of Spondes, with their elaborate frescos and icons. As the Byzantine period gave way to the Hospitaller period in Medievel times where knıghts on their crusades to Jerusalem used the island as one of their major resupply and resting stops on their way to the Holy lands. Several castles on the island stil stand and are a must see, dating from the Byzantine period but were expanded by Hospitaller Knights that inhabited the island for several hundred years. The main castle is located in Kos harbour, with two more located near the villages of Pyli and Antimachia. During those times Kos changed hands many times and in the early 1300’s the Genoan Grandmaster Viniolo Vinioli, helped the Knights of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, to conquer Kos ad the surrounding islands, with the conquest lasting for over two centuries, bringing economic growth and prosperity to the land’s inhabitants, until they were overrun by the Ottoman Empire that occupied Greece for four hundred years until modern times. The Ottoman period began in 1523, when the islands of Dodecanese, succumbed to the attacks of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The knights were put to flight and resettled in malta leaving Kos and its people to the iron rule and opression of Ottoman domination. Kos met dramatic changes depicted by Muslim mosques and their minarets that sprang up throughout the island in an effort to eradicate the Christian religion, the Greek language, customs and traditions. The Greeks though prevailed and in 1821 declared their independence from Turkey, and soon thereafter Kos earned its independence too, although it remained an Italian protected province until 1948, that brought about reforms in education, organisation of civil services, trade and infrastructure for the island, and where you will see that most local government buildingas were constructed during this time with the distinctive flamboy Italian architechture. Kos has renewed itself and survived throughout th centuries to become an island of rich character and history, and has eveolved into one of the most popular tourist desinations of Greece, with abundance of natural beauty, combining sea and mountains, traditional sights and local scenery, sandy beaches and numerous ancient sites of interest.