KOS



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Kos - Upper terrace

Upper Terrace
It is from the third or Upper Terrace that the beautiful view across the city, the islands and the mainland opposite finally opens out; and it is this area of the sanctuary which would have been visible from out at sea, and which contributed to the impression that Cos made on the arriving visitor—so approvingly commented on by both Diodorus Siculus and Strabo. The form of this terrace mirrored the First Terrace: the sides and back, lined by a continuous colonnaded stoa, with the fourth side open to the panoramic view. Once this area was completed, shortly after 200 bc, the sanctuary had a complete, closed form—two colonnaded terraces reflecting one another across a transverse axis of sacred buildings. The major difference was that a new and Greater Temple to Asklepios, was erected in the centre of this terrace in 170– 160 bc—this time peripteral in design (with a Doric colonnade all around), oriented north/south, and with no apparent altar in front. Only the marble floor and finely cut steps of the platform remain—sufficient, however, to show the play of different colours of stone once again. Anything that remained of the original 32 columns of the Doric temple was taken to Kos by the Knights of Rhodes for their Castle and other buildings. Over the temple’s pronaos, a small, mediaeval Christian chapel was erected, generally referred to as the Panaghia tou Alsous or ‘Tarsou’ (‘of the sacred grove’). The T-shaped assemblage of spolia—ancient and Byzantine—to the east side was its altar. The stone sarcophagi visible to the west are evidence of a Christian cemetery on this site, too.

   The design and function of the long portico, or stoa, which bordered the terrace on three sides, are virtually identical to that on the First Terrace. Here, however, the terracotta pipes and tanks of the running water system, which fed every part of the sanctuary, are clearly visible at several points. Steps in the centre of the south side lead up the hill behind into the area occupied by the original grove of cypress trees, sacred to Apollo Kyparissios. A little way up the hill and to the left, is the platform of another temple, probably also Hellenistic in date, perfectly oriented on an east–west axis: the base of the walls of the naos can be traced, and the south side of the crepidoma remains well-preserved. Above it, a curious, natural, limestone ridge traverses the hillside, which shows signs of having been cut by hand at several points: this may have been the natural peribolos or perimeter line of the sacred grove. The hill levels out further up: the land drops away towards the sea in one direction, and rises to the crenellated peak of Di­kaios in the other.

The road which climbs up beyond the Asklepieion cross es the valley and stream-bed of the waters from Vouri­na Spring. Two of a series of de-commissioned water-mills can be seen in the valley, one immediately to the left of the road. After 6.5km, the road reaches the abandoned village of Aghios Demetrios (covered below under ‘Mountain Villages’).

 

 

 


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


Random information you might what to know about Kos Island
The archaeological Museum
Castle of the Knights

 

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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