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Kos - The Asklepeion and the East of the Island - Kos to Therma

Kos to Therma
The main road along the shoreline to the southeast of Kos passes a long, gently curving bay, lined with eucalyptus trees, which has witnessed much of the island’s tourist development over the last decade. Shortly after the New Yacht Marina, to the right of the road (at 2.2km from the port) can be seen recent excavations which have revealed the outlines of a major Archaic temple and large altar of the 6th century bc, and brought to light a wide array of votive offerings: Egyptian scarabs, Corinthian aryballoi, swords, and figurines of female deities. Little had previously come to light from this early period on Kos, and these important excavations are helping to fill gaps in the understanding of the continuity of the island’s history. One hundred metres further east, on the right at a small junction in the road, are the remains of the Early Christian basilica of the Archangel Gabriel. As often with Early Christian sites, the church was built, unprotected, right on the shore: the position recalls that of Aghia Photini­ in the wide bay of Pigadia on Karpathos. The earliest construction here was at the east end of the remains, where, on top of a grave of the 2nd or 3rd centuries ad, a small martyrion was erected in the 4th century: later, in the 5th century, this became the tri-conch apse of a basilica whose ruins are seen today. The basilica covered a large additional area and possessed a narthex and exo-narthex to the west. It was the centre of a complex of other buildings, attesting the importance of the cult here: a baptistery with cruciform font is visible at the southwest corner, and a further chapel on the south side, just east of the baptistery. Further to the southwest are the remains of a curious building thought by some to be a small complex of thermal baths: no hypocaust is visible, but the walls possess an inner shell in terracotta tiles, typical of such buildings. A few of the fragmentary columns of the basilica’s nave, in Rhodian marble—one diagonally fluted—have been provisionally re-erected at random points on the site.
   The road continues round the eastern extremity of the island, marked (north) by Cape Louros and (south) Aghios Phokas. South of Cape Louros is a small brackish lagoon, Lake Psali­di, with reed-beds which constitute an important breeding area for birds (Little bittern, Ruddy shelduck, and Black-winged stilt), and are particularly rich in passage migrants in season. As the road turns south and west, the landscape becomes dramatically more arid along the tree-less southern slopes of the Horomedon massif. Wide views of the Cnidos peninsular and Nisyros open out. At 11km the asphalt finishes and a track (beside a refreshments stall) heads steeply down to the shore below, leading (600m) to a narrow strand of shingle between the cliffs and the sea: at its western end, a spring of hot sulphurous water, known as Empros Thermi (or often just ‘Therma’), emerges at just under 50Β°C, flows directly into the sea from under the cliff, and mixes to a pleasant temperature with the sea-water in an area roughly enclosed by a wide ring of boulders, where further small jets rise underwater. The first severe storms of the autumn bury the spring under sand; it is then dug out once again at the end of each winter. The consequent warmth in the surrounding sea attracts octopus in large numbers—some of which inevitably find their way onto the tables of the fish-tavern, which occupies the only building on the shore.
   Four kilometres beyond Therma to the west along the wild and deserted south coast are the hot springs at Aghia Irini. These are best reached by arranging at the Therma taverna for a caique to take you there. The alternative is a two-hour hike across rough terrain from bay to bay along the coast: the path is not marked and at several points it is necessary to wade through the water in order to pass. The waters, which are slightly hotter and more sulphurous than those at Empros Thermi, rise on the shore directly beyond the modern chapel of Aghia Irini. Nothing disturbs the peace here except for the often capricious winds.


Kos Island is part of the Dodecanese Island group
The Asklepeion and the East of the Island. Kos to Therma.


Random information you might what to know about Kos Island
Collachium
Ancient Cos general Information

 

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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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