In some ways Kos is like a much smaller version of the Greek island of Rhodes, with the same sort of quaint town and shops, and ruins. Here, as on Rhodes the Knights of St. John had a center, and helped build a castle. They were called Hospitallers because they were dedicated to the care of the ill. The group is named after John the Baptizer not the apostle John, and they seem to have been formed in Jerusalem somewhere around 1000 A.D. You still see evidence of their presence on Kos, including especially at the castle. Here’s their emblem on the castle wall, And above the doorway entrance into the castle…. Interestingly, there is an inscription about Herod the Tetrarch in the castle. The island however is far more famous for its association with Hippocrates and as an ancient place of healing, including a massive Asclepion (see the next post). For now, we will focus on the agora in the city, and the general ethos of the city, which is quite beautiful…. our tour guide this time will be Mr. Bouganvillia, and here he is….. Notice his two eyes, nose, and mouth, and his little collar with a flower. Everything grows on these islands, including gigantic Ficus trees…. There is an impressive Greek Orthodox Church near the townsquare…. The church is dedicated to a local saint I’d never heard of before….. The blue domes are visible from the market…. Nearby are quaint houses and shops…. Here is the so-called tree of Hippocrates….though it is only about 600 years old….where legend has he imparted his medical wisdom. More on him in a future post about the Hippocratic Association.
The ancient agora is worth a visit.