KOS



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Kos - Mediaeval, Ottoman, Italian and Modern Kos - The mediaeval city

The mediaeval city
The mediaeval building on the corner directly to the north of the Ficus trees, is the Schlegelholz Bastion, and it marks the southern limit of the mediaeval Collachium, or walled city, built by the Knights of St. John between 1391 and 1396 against the threatened attack of Sultan ‘ (‘Thunderbolt’) Beyazit I (the same who finished his days in an iron cage after his capture by Tamburlaine). The bastion bears the coats of arms of Hesso Schlegelholz, Governor of Kos (1399–1408), and of Grand Master Juan Fernandez de Heredia (1377–96). The walled city enclosed an area south of the castle, now occupied by the Agora Excavations and the buildings adjoining the southeast corner of the harbour: its southern wall—well preserved at some points—runs along the northern side of Ippokratous Street. A reconstructed eastern gateway, incorporating ancient and mediaeval spolia, leads in from the shore promenade just north of the bastion, beside the Hospitaller-period House of Francesco Sans, built in 1514 in a style reminiscent of that of the mediaeval mansions of Rhodes , and in stone of variegated colour.
   Through the gateway is a deserted area with two small mediaeval churches, separated by a funerary chapel and monument to the Thymanakis family in between, which has an inscribed fragment of ancient cornice as its western step. The small 15th century church of Aghios Giorgios to the south incorporates many ancient fragments, including a broken column protruding perpendicularly on the north side, and other decorative pieces and architraves. Inside are traces of wall-paintings and a carved and finely decorated 16th century funerary plaque in the floor. The church to the north, Aghios Ioannis, of the same period, is similarly constructed using ancient pieces: immured to the left of the west door, and set on its side, is the marble front of an ancient standing tomb or mausoleum, carved to look like a closed gate; beside it, is a piece with a scratched cross and Byzantine inscription. These churches, now isolated, were once immersed in the dense habitation and narrow streets of the mediaeval town, which was cleared after the earthquake of 1933. Just beyond Aghios Ioannis to the north are the remains of early 17th century Ottoman baths, later used as a store and deposit for salt. The bathing chamber is still clearly recognisable, but in bad condition.


Kos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
Mediaeval, Ottoman, Italian and Modern Kos. The mediaeval city.


Random information you might what to know about Kos Island
General information about Kos
Asklepieion. Middle terrace

 

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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