KOS



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Kos - Mediaeval, Ottoman, Italian and Modern Kos - The Foro Italico area

The Foro Italico area
Many of the buildings in the area along the shore to the south of the castle date from the Italian occupation of Kos between 1912 and 1943. Kos was the second administrative centre of the Italian Dodecanese ‘Province’, and these buildings were meant to showcase the new ad ministration as well as to provide a functional base for its operations. Together they constitute what was called the Foro Italico, and they form part of a master plan for the expansion and renewal of the city, drawn up in 1928. The principal architects of this plan were Florestano di Fausto and Rodolfo Petracco, both of whom had been employed by Rome in the previous years to redesign the city of Rhodes . The idea was to create a new, ‘pan Mediterranean’ architectural vocabulary—clear, rational, and based on the simple forms of the architecture of the Ancient Romans (whom the regime was desirous of emulating), but which at the same time acknowledged the traditions of local architecture which, in Greece, meant the whitewashed, geometric forms of vernacular building and the mediaeval castellations and pointed arches of the structures left by the Knights of Rhodes . It was intended that this hybrid should become a universal architectural language of the Mediterranean, just as Ancient Roman design had been to the same area in Ancient times.
   Although this architecture was to become more austere and less appealing as the Italian political regime became more repressive in the 1930s, the early buildings here in Kos are not without beauty or interest, and have often tended to be ignored for political reasons. As you stand in the area with the giant Ficus trees, three of the first builds to be erected line the shore opposite: the Albergo Gelsomino (originally the official hotel), and to its south, two lower buildings—the original Mayor’s Residence (Italian Club’. Immediately beside you and behind is the (less successful) church of the Evangelismos (formerly the Catholic cathedral of the Agnus Dei); inland, behind this building is the Kos Boys’ School (‘Ippokrateio Lykeio’), and one block further up Ippokratous Street is the Italian Hospital. One hundred and fifty metres to the north along the promenade road, just before the castle and the Avenue of Palms planted by the Italians, is the Kos Administration Building (originally the seat of the Governorate, but which now accommodates the Police, and other administrative offices). Directly behind it is the Courthouse and, at the far end of the Avenue of Palms, overlooking the harbour, is the Governor’s Residence (now the Town Hall). All these buildings—none without architectural merit—are the design of Florestano di Fausto, with the exception of the Albergo Gelsomino, which is by Rodolfo Petracco, and all were erected between 1927 and 1929. Then came the catastrophic earthquake of 1933, and a new and more ambitions urban plan for the city was required. One of the few buildings in this immediate area from after 1933, is the former Casa del Balilla, or Fascist Youth Building (now the Agrotiki­ bank), on the corner of Korai and Ar temi­sias Streets, 100m to the southwest: its pared-down, unadorned lines and blockish form speak of a different political atmosphere from the often whimsical, earlier buildings of the late 20s. Any reference to the local style of the Mediaeval Knights’ architecture—as in the towers, pointed arches, and crenellations of di Fausto’s Governo rate Building—has here been rigorously excluded.


Kos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
Mediaeval, OttoMan, Italian and Modern Kos. The Foro Italico area.


Random information you might what to know about Kos Island
Tipari and Tingaki
Asklepieion. Upper Terrace

Random information you might what to know about Kos Island
Spring of Vourina
Hippocratic writings

 

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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