What to See in Kos
Archeological sites - Kos
In the city of Kos the monuments of ancient times are separated into 3 zones: the excavations of the port, the central and western zone. The finds in the first zone which came to light after the earthquake of 1933 include the Stoa (4th or 3rd century B.C.), the sanctuary of Hercules (3rd century B.C.), the small sanctuary, the double sanctuary of Pandimos and Aphrodite Pontias, the Agora and finally the famous plane-tree of Hippocrates which comprises an offshoot of the original tree in the shade of which, according to tradition, the father of medicine taught and wrote many of his writings. In the central zone there are relics of a Minoan settlement and of the Geometric Age.
Included in the zone are structures with beautiful mosaics (3rd century B.C.), the ancient Stadium (2nd century B.C.), the Western Bath Houses (2nd-3rd century B.C.) the "Xysto" Gymnasium, the Nymphaeum (3rd century B.C.), the House of the abduction of Europa with the homonymous mosaic, the Roman conservatory, the Altar of Dionysus and the restored Roman House (Casa Romana).
At a distance of 3.5 km southwest of Kos, there is the most famous and long standing monument of Kos, the Asclepeion. During ancient times the Asclepeion was a sacred hospital and this specific one was considered the most significant since it had a history of many centuries. It started to be built during the 4th century B.C. and in the same place findings were discovered from the Minoan and Geometric periods. It is laid out in three levels: On the first are the Propylaea, Bath House ruins, Stoas and Public Lavatories. On the second there is the most ancient temple of the Asclepeion (3rd century B.C.), the altar of Asclepeion or of Apollo of Kyparissia (4th century A.D.), remains of a temple of Apollo (3rd century A.D.) with seven restored pillars. Finally, on the third level there are ruins of the great temple of Asclepeion (2nd century B.C.) and traces of Hellenistic Stoas.
At Pyli there is a said tomb of Harmylos, a total of 12 tombs in a dome-shaped structure. At Kefalos, there are still ruins of a Hellenistic theater at the site of Palatia, 3 km to the south.
Castles in Kos
The Knights Castle, formerly known as Neratzia Castle and built on the ruins of an ancient fortress, stands just at the entrance of the port of the town of Kos. Its construction began in the14th century by St. John's Knights because of the delays caused by Turkish invasions. The castle has two rounds of walls and was an islet until the beginning of 20th century, as in the place of today’s Foinikes Avenue there was a ditch filled with sea water separating the castle from the land.
The castle was connected to the mainland near the location of Hippocrates Plane tree by a bridge which is still preserved on Foinikes Avenue.
In Antimachia, 4.5 km SE of the village there is a very well preserved medieval castle. Ruins of a Byzantine castle are still preserved on top of a hill in Pili offering the visitors an amazing view of the nearby islands, while more castle ruins can also be found on top of the hill in Kefalos.
Churches of Kos
"Paleo Pili” which is in ruins today, lies on a hill on the southeast of the village in an exceptional natural environment. It has got three churches: St. Antonios, the Church of Taxiarches and the Church of the Virgin Mary Ipapanti, which was in the past the “Kastriano Monastery” and was founded by the Saint Chistodoulos. From these three churches the Church of the Virgin Mary Ipapanti is of most interest as remains of hagiography of the 14th century are preserved, a sculpted wooden icon screen and ancient pillars which evidently were transferred from the nearby sanctuary of Demeter.
In Mastichari there are relics of an Old Christian Basilica of the 5th century with exceptionally preserved mosaics which cover the surface of around 400 sq m. In Antimacheia in the Medieval castle two post Byzantine churches are preserved.
In Asfendiou there is a church of Asomaton Taxiarchon of the 11th century with a fine icon screen as well as an Early Christian Basilica of St. Paul outside of the village. Even on top of Mount Dikeos, which was called “Oromedon” in ancient times- there is a small church of Christ with a wonderful view.
In Lagoudi there is an especially picturesque church of St. John the Theologian built amongst the rocks.
In Kardamaina there is an Old Christian Basilica of St. Theotitas. Finally, rich in significant churches is the area of Kefalos with its ruins of Old Christian Basilicas of St. Stephanos with mosaic floors and pillars which are dated to the 6th century. We also find churches, such as the Church of the Virgin Mary Palatiani in Palatia, the Virgin Mary Ziniotissa, St. Mamos, St. Theologos and St. John all with an exceptional view of the land around and sea.
Traditional Cuisine - Kos
There are many interesting local recipes for food and pastries which women of Kos usually make for large religious celebrations. The most characteristic recipes are “pitarridia” (lasagna which is boiled in meat broth) and "varvara" (boiled wheat with honey, sugar, almonds, nuts, raisins, pomegranate, cinnamon, rose water, orange zest and some spices). “Katimeria” is twisted fried cheese pie with mizithra cheese and is served with honey and cinnamon. “Xismata” (wheaten bread kneaded with grated mizithra cheese and flavorings). “Afrena” or “eftazima” are flavored breads, the yeast for which is made of boiled chick peas foam and bay leaves. “Kousafi” is boiled black raisin with different flavorings. “Lazari” is white bread that people bake in human shape. “Koufoi” is plain dough, while “geroi” which are offered during the Lent are stuffed with raisins and roasted sesame or crushed almonds and are kneaded with rose water. “Labropites” (large round cheese pies kneaded with many eggs and a little yeast, stuffed with "prosfa" – fresh unsalted mizithra cheese). “Kokkino tiri” (red cheese) which locals leave to bake in red wine. Finally, “pligouri” is ground wheat cooked with pork.
The local dishes will leave a really sweet taste in your mouth. Kos island is known for itsbaklava and tomato sweets.
The high quality and tasteful honey produced by bee keepers of Antimachia is known not only in Greece but also worldwide.
Posa cheese is a local recipe and is goat’s cheese preserved in red wine. The combination of tastes is amazing! Visit the small villages and try a traditional kanellada or soumada of Nisiros prepared with bitter almond.
Local sweets can be found in all confectioneries, super markets or mini markets of the island.