Kos is the third largest island of the Dodecanese after Rhodes and Karpathos. The many travelers of antiquity who visited the island expressed themselves in a lyrical way, calling it "Kos glikeia, eunaiomeni, amphirryti" (sweet and full of waters - - poet of Herodas. 3rd century BC). The island was first inhabited around 2300 - 2000 BC. Scattered findings testify to the strong presence of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilization. Kos (as the Iliad recounts) sent during the Trojan War (11844 BC) thirty triremes in collaboration with Nisyros, Karpathos, Kasos and Kalymnos, led by the Heraclideans Pheidippos and Antiphos. The third wave of Dorians migration in Kos will create in the 7th century the Doric hexapolis, a powerful politico-religious alliance between six cities that made up Knidos, Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, Ialyssos, Kamiros and Lindos in Rhodes, and Kos with the islands of Kalymnos and Nisyros. At the end of the 6th c. came under Persian rule. The historical colophon of the heyday of Kos was prepared in the 5th century. and peaked in the 4th c. BC. High culture was produced with outstanding poets (Epicharmos, Herondas, Theokritos), artists and athletes of pan-Hellenic scope. The cultural flourishing continued during the years when the island belonged to the state of Antigonus. It supported Philip V in his wars against the Romans, it received raids from Mithridates and from 82 BC. was a Roman province. During the Byzantine period, it belonged to the Theme of the Kibirraiots. It succumbed to the difficult fate of other Aegean islands that were plagued by pirate raids. Nevertheless, the greatest disaster was to come from successive earthquakes, the most terrible being that of 553 AD. After 1204 and until 1281 it came under the possession of the Venetians and specifically of lord Leo Gavalas. After 1261 it came under the empire of Nicaea. The Chivalry was accompanied by feverish efforts to fortify the island with the fortresses at Pyli, Kefalos and Antimachia. In 1312 AD, Catalan pirates plundered Kos for 3 years. Led by Foulques de Vilaret, the Knights drive them away and dominate the island for 218 years. On the 3rd of July 1457 AD 18,000 Turks with 158 ships equipped with the most advanced means of the time and led by Admiral Hamza, landed on the island, but finally resisted. In December 1522 Lango - the Kos of the Knights - surrendered to the Turks. Sultan Suleiman named her Stankioi. The island remained in the possession of the Turks, like the other Dodecanese, until 1912. The Italian occupation lasted until 1947, when the much-desired Integration took place. The city of Kos could be likened to an open archeological museum, where architectural and artistic achievements of the island's turbulent historical past are exhibited in their natural locations. The ruins of the ancient city of Kos were revealed by the earthquake of 1933, when the newer buildings collapsed.
Ancient wall (Kos-4th century BC):
It is built with worked stones, narrower in some places and wider in others, with a thickness of 6-8 meters. With its two arms, it reached the mouth of the port and continues east to the current Governor's Office, while to the west it covers the sides of the ancient market up to the Archaeological Museum.
Medieval city (Chora):
The walls of the medieval city of the Knights were built in the 15th century. They include the area from Akti Miaoulis and Kountourioti to Eleftherias Square and Hippokratous Avenue, which at that time was a moat that supplemented the city's defense and was called Khandakas. One of the most characteristic points of this wall is the so-called "Tax Gate" located in the central square of the modern city. The only surviving secular knightly building is the seat of the commander Fr. Sans, which has been restored and houses the archaeological library.
Castle of Nerantzia or the Knights' Castle (Kos, port entrance - 14th century):
The main medieval monument of Kos is rectangular and is a classic example of imposing defensive architecture of that era. At the entrance there is a coat of arms of the Grand Master D'Amboise and a built-in ancient sculpture with theatrical masks. Built by the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, who occupied the island in 1314, on top of an older castle, it has a double wall and a moat, while enclosing older buildings and bastions (second half of the 15th century). Inside it were transferred architectural members, many from the Asklepiion. Until the beginning of the 20th century the area where the castle is located was an island. The Castle Bridge connects it to the city and the Hippocrates Plane Tree.
Kos has been inhabited since at least the first Early Bronze Age (2900 - 2100 BC). as evidenced by prehistoric tombs and finds in the areas of Asklupi and the cave of Aspri Petra. Pelasgi, Cares and Leleges were the first inhabitants, they will pass through Kos Finikes and Achaios. Also on the island we find relics from the Mycenaean period or the late bronze age (1600 - 1150 BC). "Karis" and "Meropis" are the ancient names of Kos. "Nymphaea" was also called by Pliny.
Homer in the Second Rhapsody of the Iliad mentions that Kos, along with the islands of Nisyros, Kalymnos, Karpathos and Kasos, took part in the Trojan War with thirty ships. This is followed by the donation of the island, while during the 7th and 6th BC. century Kos participates in the federal alliance of the "Doric Hexapolis". Great is the number and variety of Koak ceramics of the geometric period, brought to light by the archaeological dig.
Over the years, "Municipalities" are formed on the island - 7 in total including the Municipality of Koon - and the inhabitants begin to prosper. The sailors and merchants who traveled to the Aegean ranked Kos, in terms of wealth, in the same category as the other islands of the Asia Minor coast - Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes - giving them the name "Makaron Islands".
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou