The New Market and commercial centre
The harbour to the west of the castle is well-protected, intimate in size, and has an attractive waterfront with plenty of trees. To the south it is dominated by di Fausto’s Governor’s Palace of 1926–27, now the city’s Town Hall. The streets leading inland to either side of this building bring you up to Plateia Eleftherias, the city’s main square marked by the conspicuous minaret of the 18th century Deftedar Mosque. This mosque has a more traditional design than its contemporary at the opposite corner of the Agora, with a low cupola on an octagonal drum surmounting its square prayer hall: its fountain and staircase are both much less decorated. The minaret has been re stored, but still preserves its fine, ornate ‘collar’ balcony. Behind the mosque to the east, and now almost entirely overgrown by bougainvillea, is what was the principal en trance into the Mediaeval walled city of the Knights, the ‘Porta tou Forou’, whose masonry, doorposts and lintel blocks are still just visible beneath the vegetation.
The open space of Eleftherias Square is bounded by buildings erected by the Italians in the New (second) Urban Plan of 1934, drawn up by Rodolfo Petracco after the disastrous earthquake of the previous year: the museum to the north (whose side elevation is more original than the front), the New Market opposite it to the south (both by Petracco), and the Fascist Party Headquarters (now a cinema and theatre) in between them to the west, by Armando Bernabiti—all of them put up in 1934–35. Al ready the decorative impulse of the buildings of the 20s has been ‘purified’ and eliminated, and the severity of Bernabiti’s building is only mitigated by the fact that it is now a lively cafe. Petracco’s spacious and airy New Agora still functions as a market. In the streets that radiate from here are many other public buildings, private houses and shops, which date from this master plan.
From the southwest corner of Eleftherias Square, Iphaistou Street, which then becomes Apellou Street, leads gently uphill past cafes, shops and an Ottoman wall fountain, through the area once known as ‘Seraglio’, be cause of the residence on this hill of the Ottoman Governor. Its summit (Plateia Diagoras) is marked by the truncated minaret of a demolished mosque, with a salvaged Ottoman fountain attached to its north side. In the corner of Nisiriou Street behind, is the large, 17th century stone mansion of Mehmet Pasha. Its woodwork, attractively painted ceilings, and domed hamam have recently been restored and converted into the ‘Anatolia Hamam’ restaurant and bar. Two hundred metres to the northeast of here, on the corner of Makariou and Venizelou Streets, is a 19th century Ottoman mosque, the Atik Cami, now converted into offices; it has lost its minaret, but still pre serves a carved Osmanli inscription surmounted by a ‘tugra’, or Sultan’s monogram, over the gate.
Returning to Eleftherias Square, and continuing east wards, Ippokratous Street follows the line (left) of the walls which were the southern boundary of the city of the Knights. One hundred and fifty metres along on the left is a neoclassical mansion occupied by the offices of the Diocese of Kos. Across the street, on the corner of Mitropoleos Street, is a small domed shrine to HacΔ± BaΕΔ± Dede, beside a building which is the seat of the offices of the Muslim Community, and occupies the site formerly of a mosque. A further 100m leads to the point where this itinerary began.
Kos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
Mediaeval, Ottoman, Italian and Modern Kos. The new Market and commercial centre.