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KOS is the home of Hippocrates, of Hippocratic Oath fame.

Kos is one of the top tourist destinations in Greece mainly because of its mild weather, long sandy beaches and self-contained resort hotels. Kos is an ideal venue for a family vacation and it is favored by Northern European travellers.

It is the third largest island in the Dodecanese chain, which hugs the coast of the Aegean coast of Turkey. Kos lies very close to the Turkish peninsula of Bodrum, it has an area of 290 sq. km, a coastline of 112 km (70 miles) and a population of about 20 thousand. Kos can be reached by air or by ferry. While the interior of the island is agricultural, with many relying on the soil for their livelihood, it is the mix of archaeology and history coupled with the beaches that attract visitors year after year and which make it one of the more popular islands of Greece. Kos is thought to be the birthplace and home of Europa, whose name is borne today by the Old Continent. The island was also the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who lived on the island in the fourth century BC. After his death the people of Kos built the Asklepeion (named for the God of Healing Asklepeos), which became a hospital that was known throughout the Greek world and spread the healing methods of Hippocrates. Today, its ruins are one of the top tourist draws of the island. Evidence suggests Kos was inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 14th century BC, the Minoans from Crete arrived and inhabited the island. Around 700 BC Dorian settlers built the ancient city of Kos, which formed part of the so-called Dorian Hexapolis and prospered as a trading port because of its proximity to the shores of Asia Minor. The island was devastated by an earthquake in the 6th century BC.

In the 5th century BC Kos was captured by the Persians, but after their defeat on the mainland by the Athenian League, in the battle of Salamis in 479 BC, Kos regained its independence. In 336 BC Kos was conquered by Alexander the Great, and then fell under the protection of one of Alexander's heirs, Ptolemy II of Egypt, who was born on Kos, and once again the island prospered. The Romans took over the island in 130 BC. It became wealthy again in the Byzantine period but was subject to constant raids by pirates and invaders, of whom the most dangerous were the Saracens. In 1315 the Knights of Saint John, who were based in Rhodes, built the large fortress which still stands today at the entrance of the harbor. In 1522 the Ottoman Turks took both Rhodes and Kos and remained in control for almost four hundred years until Italy conquered the Dodecanese islands in 1912 as the Ottoman Empire was collapsing. The island remained under the control of the Italian-German Axis until Allied forces liberated it at the end of WWII. Kos was then formally annexed by Greece in 1948. Since the 1970s the island has witness an influx of tourists that have turned farms and fields into luxury hotels and first-class resorts, with vast swimming pools and clusters of tennis courts, overlooking white sandy beaches and azure sea. For the yachtsman and the windsurfer Kos is a veritable paradise. Near perfect winds, deep water tie-ups and something that is sadly missing from much of the Greek Mediterranean: a newly built top-flight, first class, full service marina offering everything from charter services to a ship's store to a repair center with a travel lift. Today Kos is an island of bliss and beauty with a vibrant economy planning its future on its tourism industry.

The traveler, whether here for business or holiday, staying for a weekend, a week or a season, will find an abundant array of things to do: from exploring interesting historic sites, such as medieval castles and ancient Greco-Roman ruins, to sun-and-fun pursuits, such as sailing and windsurfing, in the always breezy warm air, and to just soaking in the sun on one of the many sandy beaches that surround this quintessential Greek island.

 

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