KOS



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Kos - First terrace

First Terrace
Originally entered through a tetrastyle pedimented gateway, or Propyleion, which stood at the initial flight of open steps, the First Terrace was an enclosed area, bounded on three sides by a continuous colonnaded stoa, with its fourth side formed by the retaining wall of the Middle Terrace straight ahead, whose niches would have been peopled with statuary and running fountains of water. The area thus enclosed provided lodging for patients, and constituted the principal work-place of the practitioners, who were neither solely priests nor doctors, but a hybrid of the two which has no real equivalent today. It was in this area that the fruit of continual observation of patients and the transmission of experience from elder to younger practitioner accumulated and took the form of the body of knowledge enshrined in the corpus of Hippocratic Writings.
  
The column bases of the portico, or stoa, of the First Terrace are visible, with the outlines of spacious rooms behind. The sanctuary must have been able to accommodate a considerable number of people. To the right of the central staircase ahead is a niche with a pedestal in white marble, on which stood a statue of Nero as Asklepios: a legible inscription be low refers to the person who dedicated it, [Gaius Stertinius] Xenophon, a 1st century ad physician from Cos who practised successfully in the Imperial court at Rome, and who appears also to have endowed a medical library at this sanctuary. Further to the right, slightly projecting from the line of the wall, are three arched niches with thermal water pools at ground level for the therapeutic waters. As can be seen from above on the edge of the Second Terrace, these form a separate, self-contained block, which stands in an inset in the retaining-wall, creating a separate storage tank for the waters which spouted below. Still further to the right is a rectangular ablutions sink, and an area of lavatories added in the 3rd century ad beyond the corner of the stoa.
    To the left of the central stairs, the third niche houses a fountain surmounted by an eroded relief of Pan playing the syrinx. The wall all along here has been extensively restored and rebuilt: the two despoiled and headless statues at the far left-hand end of it give little impression of the wall’s original effect when peopled with the fine dedicatory sculptures mentioned by Strabo and Pliny.
   The whole of the terrace’s eastern end is dominated by the massive ruins of a later addition to the site—the Roman thermal baths of the 3rd century ad. Small areas of mosaic floor are still in evidence, as well as the revetment in Proconnesian marble and coloured plaster, which covered the ungainly rubble and cement walls. The largest chambers— the frigidarium and tepidarium—had plunge-pools of water, sunk into the apsidal spaces at their sides, in which the bases of fountains are still visible: these chambers were vaulted to a considerable height. Some of the best-preserved plaster work, with its deep red colour and decoration, is visible in the lower chamber below and outside the north wall of the baths.
    A path around the back from here leads to the Antiquarium building put up by the Italian archaeologists to the east of the whole complex, which is currently empty and being restored. From this path the three protruding apses of an Early Christian church, which was built inside the baths in the 5th or 6th century, can be seen in the eastern perimeter of the buildings: some commentators refer to this as the ‘Panaghia tou Alsous’, which is the name normally given to the later mediaeval chapel built over the pronaos of the Temple of Asklepios on the Upper Terrace (see below).


Kos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
Asklepieion. First terrace.


Random information you might what to know about Kos Island
The hot springs at Aghia Irini
Understanding the layout, ancient Cos

 

access

Kos Island, Greece.

By air: Kos has an international airport in the centre of the island at a distance of 23 km from Kos Town, with twice daily connections from Athens by both Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines, and charter arrivals from many destinations in Northern Europe. There are also local (Olympic)flights three times weekly to Astypalaia, Leros and Rhodes.
   By boat: There are daily services by catamaran (Dodecanese Express), and four times weekly by car ferry (F/B Nisos Kalymnos), plying the route between Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos (& Samos – ferry only): to Piraeus and Rhodes, Blue Star Ferries run four times weekly ferries, and GA Ferries (who include Nisyros, Tilos and Symi en route) three times weekly. The faster Flying Dolphin services link Kos also with the smaller Dodecanese Islands between Samos in the north and Rhodes in the south, and run daily in summer. From Kardamaina on the southeast coast there is a daily connection with Nisyros throughout the year, weather permitting.

Kos Travel Guide

eating

Kos Island, Greece.

In the town centre, for inexpensive and genuine fare, with good fresh, local wine, the small taverna Kriti (just below the steps northwest of the central church of Aghia Paraskevì) on Ypsilantou Street is reliable and convivial: while, nearby, the Kafeneion Aenaos in front of the Deftedar Mosque, opposite the Central Market building, makes a proper Greek coffee. Many of the most interesting and enjoyable places to eat, however, are a little out of the centre; for a delightful rural, courtyard setting, the Taverna Ambavris (in Ambavris, 1 km along the road south (left) from just beyond the Casa Romana /Roman House as you approach it from the centre of town) is to be recommended; while at the crossroads in Platani, (1.7 km from the port along the road to the Asklepieion), Ali"s is a Turkish restaurant with some good quasi-Turkish dishes, very popular with locals for Sunday lunch. To Palaio Pyli, 1 km below Palaio Pyli, has good fish, hospitable welcome and a good sunset view. With comparable sunset view, home-grown wine and home-made traditional dishes, the quiet and friendly -Taverna Panorama (2.5 km up the Asfendiou road from Zipari) in a family house and garden, is highly recommended. It is perhaps the most genuine place on the island to eat.

Kos Travel Guide

further reading

Kos Island, Greece.

Susan Sherwin-White’s Ancient Cos – an Historical Study etc. (the most authoritative and detailed study of the island in Antiquity); Vassilis Colonas, Italian Architecture in the Dodecanese Islands (Olkos Press, Athens, 2002), for the buildings and architectural ideas of the Italian occupation; the Hippocratic Corpus, selected and translated as The Medical Works of Hippocrates, by Chadwick and Mann (Oxford, Blackwell).

Kos Travel Guide

lodging

Kos Island, Greece.

Outside of the tourist complexes, the most comfortable place to stay in Kos is at the Kos Aktis Hotel (T.22420 47200; www.kosaktis.gr) which is stylish and modern, and has a good restaurant; it is conveniently and centrally placed near the castle, and all its rooms have balconies overlooking the shore towards the Turkish coast. The price is moderate to expensive. For the hospitality, friendliness and helpfulness of the owner, the family-run Hotel Afendoulis (T.22420 25321, fax 25797), just in from the shore to the south of the centre on Evripidou Street, is a pleasant guest-house, but with basic rooms (inexpensive).

Kos Travel Guide

practical info

Kos Island, Greece.

85 300 Kos: area 287sq km; perimeter 112km; resident population 26,379; maximum altitude 843m.
Port Authority: T. 22420 26594–7 & 24185.
Travel and information: Panos Tours, T. 22420 23078, fax 28068.

Kos Travel Guide

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