Understanding the layout
Everything here dates from after 366 bc, when the new city of Cos was founded and fortified on this site by the synoecism of the island’s pre-existing cities.
The destruction wrought by several earthquakes, especially in 5 bc and 142 ad, has given rise to over-building and redesigning of many elements in this area in ancient times.
The ancient port penetrated substantially further in land than the present one, meaning that this area was much closer to the waterfront (north) than it now is. The area visible here represents approximately 4–5% of the extent of the city in its heyday.
The site is bisected longitudinally along the east–west axis (the line of the pathway directly ahead as you enter) by an intermittently visible, 4th century bc city wall—the one that protected the city on the northern, harbour side: this means that what lies to the left (south) was inside the enceinte, while the remains to the right lay outside. This outside area was, nonetheless, protected by arms of wall which extended from the enceinte to either side of the harbour. (The eastern arm runs along the line of the fencing to the right of the entrance.)
In its southwestern corner, this area reveals just the northern tip of the ancient city’s large, open central square, or agora proper. This extended a further 200– 300m to the south, and is being revealed piecemeal in other areas of excavation in the adjacent streets of the modern town.
Kos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
Ancient Cos. Understanding the layout.