The Island of Kos has produced archaeological proof of inhabitants from prehistoric times. The island plays a role in Homer’s Iliad, where the Koans fought in the Trojan war. In the fourteenth century BC, the Minoans settled on the island, then the Achaeans, followed by the Dorians. During the fifth century BC, the Persians controlled Kos, only to give over control to the Athenians at the battle of Salamina.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, started the first School of Medicine in 460 BC. After his death, the god of healing, Asclepius, and Hippocrates were honored with the building of the sanctuary where patients from all over the Mediterranean could be seen.
As with several of the Greek islands, the Venetians took control of Kos in 1204 AD. After the Knights of Saint John dominated it in 1315 AD, the Turks held control until 1912. It was at this time that the Italians invaded Kos, sending all Koans off the island.
One of its most horrific events came in 1934. It was an earthquake, where the entire island was almost destroyed. In 1943 the German occupation took control, exposing the Koans to the great trials and tribulations of the German rule. British rule took Kos for a handful of years. Finally in 1948, it came under the Greece State.
Kos is part of the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea. It is in the southeastern part of the see, off the coast of Turkey. It is the third largest island of the island chain and boasts around 33,000 people. It is only about 2 miles from the coast of Turkey, stretching about 25 miles long.
Kos is a municipality with Kos town being the main city and port. There are also the villages of Kardamena, Antimachia, Mastihari, Tingaki, Kefalianos, Marmari and Pyli.
Kos has the typical Mediterranean semi-arid climate where it almost never rains in the summer and the bulk of the rainfall is in the winter, from December to mid March. The average summer temperatures are from the low to mid 70s to the mid 80s. The winters are mild with lows in the mid 40s. It is best to visit the ancient ruins in May when the temperatures are mild and comfortable outside.
The island of healing has endless coastline to walk and beautiful emerald green waters in which to swim, snorkel, and scuba. If that is not enough, take in all of the monuments and ancient architecture like the medieval bridge at the entrance to the port. The ancient city is full of Roman ruins like the baths, as well as hellenistic ruins like the Doric temple. Be sure to visit Hippocrates Plane Tree which is over 2500 years old and is where he used to give his lectures and examine his patients.
The Roman baths are impressive, along with all of their mansions, residences and the Roman conservatorium able to seat 750. Platanos Square and Lotzia Mosque are great spots to see ancient monuments.
Then there are over twenty beaches where you can choose between pebbled shores or white sand and turquoise waters to wash over your feet while you marvel at the history of Kos.