History of Kos island

The history of the island of Kos has seen a number of periods of great progress, glory and fame, but also of invasion, colonization suffering and slavery. All this has left an imprint that the island of Kos houses and manifests in many aspects.

3000BC during the Bronze Age, the Greek islands were inhabited by small communities living on fishing and agriculture and found refuge in the caves. This has been ascertained  in the area of Kefalos, 30 km from the city of Kos, thanks to the discovery of the cave Aspri Petra. Excavations and research of archaeologists have unearthed several testimonies of everyday life and even some graffiti visible on the walls of the cave.

Minoan period

However, the first real civilization developed on the territory were the Minoan (2000 BC) and then the Mycenaean, which was linked to commercial traffic. Both civilizations recorded a decisive evolution and the fate of most of the Greek islands.

With the catastrophic destruction of Crete and still enigmatic consequent disappearance of the Minoan civilization, began in mainland Greek Mycenaean period. In addition to Mycenae were founded various cities; these ones were constantly at war with each other for territorial hegemony in the region now known as the Peloponnese. It was only during the great war against Troy that the various cities form an alliance; thank to this undoubtedly carved a decisive victory on the final of Mycenae.

In this mythological war according to history, Kos, Kalymnos, Nisyros, Karpathos and Kassos participated  by sending 30 boats. Despite the victory, the Trojan War was devastating for both sides; Mycenae and  all the other cities  saw the beginning of a “dark” of famine and poverty’, this period  is called the “Greek Middle Ages”!

Greece, unlike other countries, has always been an area without resources, like water itself, and not very fertile. This has led to considerable difficulty for the construction of roads and connections that would allow you to start and develop businesses.

Golden ancient period

During this period of depression the Greeks began to realize that thanks to the strategic location close to Egypt, Syria and the most important commercial ports in the Mediterranean, the only resource to which they could rely to survive was the sea.

This led the population to move away from the Peloponnese and to migrate to the Aegean islands and the coasts of Asia Minor. There, they founded right in front of Kos, a city destined to become one of the most important ancient towns- Halicarnassus. Along with Rhodes and Kos, they constitute a commercial alliance but also a military and political one called Hexapoli. This allowed to quickly to acquire a dominant position on the other islands of the Aegean.

Hippocrates era during Kos history

The colonization of the Greeks, meanwhile, continues heading towards the coast of Africa, Italy, Spain and throughout the Mediterranean bringing the model of the Greek city over to the cult of mythology. People of Kos together with new people arrived on the island, attracted by the fertility of the earth and the possibility that it offered, adapted themselves to this new example; around 700 BC founded the first capital in the area of today’s Kefalos, Astipalya (birthplace of Hippocrates). Kos island began to develop and populate more and more organizing themselves according to the pattern of the city “Acropolis” built on the hill of Zini, a very strategic and well protected point.

In the 6.BC, in Athens, Solon establishing a “sense of Democracy” recognizing the right to vote to the people. Following the example of Athens, Kos was build in typical style of other Greek cities with buildings like the Greek theater and the Agora, the political, social and business place of every citizen.

The turning point for Kos happened with disastrous earthquake of 366 BC. This event destroyed the ancient city of Astipalya and pushed the residents, frightened by the wrath of the Gods, to the other side of the island or to neighboring islands. The new city was built where now stands Kos town and was much larger than today; according to some historians, the population was more than 100 000 inhabitants. It developed very quickly between the Classical and the Hellenistic period, taking advantage of the natural resources and proximity to Halicarnassus.

Prosperous history of Kos

Became a prosperous city and thanks to the important port and trade with the neighboring islands arrive to be one of the commercial hubs in the Aegean. At the center of Kos town was built a beautiful square with the temple of Aphrodite and Hercules, surrounded by shops where you could find products from every corner of the world: Oriental silks, cosmetics from Egyptians, gold, silver, pearls. Theaters were built, the gymnasium, hospital, several temples, thermal baths and  public bathrooms. Stone houses in residential areas were decorated with beautiful mosaics. Kos, at that time, was the example of the Greek city in all its splendor.