Ancient Cos stretches everywhere underneath the centre of the modern town. Much of it was uncovered by the demolition work done after the destruction of the 1933 earthquake. Other parts have come to light as building plots have been cleared at different points in the town. All this means that islands and plots of excavation and ancient remains often appear in the midst of streets and residential buildings. As a result, it is often hard to see the complete underlying plan of the ancient town, which was roughly as follows. Its central focus was a low acropolis which corresponds to the hill of the ‘Seraglio’ area and the Platei­a Diagoras of today. This small, raised area was inhabited from before 2000 bc onwards, through the late Bronze Age and Geometric periods, and formed the nucleus of the Archaic and Classical town, known as Cos Meropis, in the 6th and 5th centuries bc. Then in 366 bc, Cos Meropis, together other ancient settlements on the is land, formed a synoecism—namely they pooled their re sources to found a new and greater city, centred around the natural harbour which is today’s port of Kos. This prosperous Hellenistic creation spread out all around the acropolis hill and completely filled the area between it and the harbour. Two main excavation areas have begun to reveal its extent: the Ancient Harbour Area and Agora (between Eleftheri­as Square and Hippocrates’s plane tree), and the Western Excavations immediately below and around the acropolis hill. Between them, is the museum which houses some of the more important sculptural finds made in these excavations. Around these two main areas, however, are a diapsora of other smaller sites. To the north is an area which includes less visible remains of a stadium, Roman baths and other miscellaneous buildings; to the south of the acropolis hill is the reconstructed Odeion and an impressive private residence, known as the ‘Casa Romana’ with, next to it, more Roman baths, and the ancient theatre beyond. Finally—near to these last—is a constellation of smaller archaeological areas which are currently being dug, between the Altar of Dionysos and the Agora excavations. These six areas are covered sequentially in the itinerary below.

Kos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
Ancient Cos. General Information.

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The Kephalos Peninslula
Ancient Harbour area and Agora


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