Kos or Cos (36°51′N, 27°14′E) (Greek: Κως; Turkish: İstanköy; Italian: Coo; formerly Stanchio in English) is a Greek island in the Dodecanese, next to the Gulf of Cos. It measures 40 km by 8 km, and is only 4 km from the coast of Bodrum, Turkey. The island has both fertile plains and infertile highlands. Population: 30502.
Belonging to the Dodecanese group (dodeca meaning twelve and nese/nisi meaning island) in the Aegean Sea near the Carian coast;Kos island was also known as Meropis and Nymphæa. Diodorus Siculus (xv. 76) and Strabo (xiv. 657) describe it as a well-fortified port. Its position gave it a high importance for the Aegean trade; while the island itself was rich in wines of considerable fame (Pliny, xxxv. 46). Under Alexander the Great and the Egyptian Ptolemies (from 336 B.C.) the town developed into one of the great centers in the Aegean. Josephus ("Ant." xiv. 7, § 2) quotes Strabo to the effect that Mithridates sent to Kos to fetch the gold deposited there by Queen Cleopatra. Herod is said to have provided an annual stipend for the benefit of prize-winners in the athletic games (Josephus, "B. J." i. 21, § 11); and a statue was erected there to his son Herod the Tetrarch ("C. I. G." 2502 )
The island was originally colonised by the Carians. The Dorians invaded it in the 11th century BC and joined the Delian League, expelling the Persians twice. Kos was a Dorian colony with a large contingent of settlers from Epidaurus who took with them their Asclepius cult and made their new home famous for its sanatoria. The other chief sources of the island's wealth lay in its wines, and in later days, in its silk manufacture. Its early history is obscure. During the Persian wars it was ruled by tyrants, but as a rule it seems to have been under an oligarchic government. In the 5th century it joined the Delian League, and after the revolt of Rhodes served as the chief Athenian station in the south-eastern Aegean (411-407). In 366 a democracy was instituted. After helping, in the Social War (357-355), to weaken Athenian power it fell for a few years to the Carian prince Maussollus. In 366 BC the town of Kos was built, then soon after the island became part of the Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Empire. In the Hellenistic age Kos attained the zenith of its prosperity. Its alliance was valued by the kings of Egypt, who used it as an outpost for their navy to watch the Aegean. As a seat of learning it rose to be a kind of provincial branch of the museum of Alexandria, and became a favourite resort for the education of the princes of the Ptolemaic dynasty; among its most famous sons were the physician Hippocrates, the painter Apelles, the poets Philetas and, perhaps, Theocritus. Following the lead of its great neighbour, Rhodes, Kos generally displayed a friendly attitude towards the Romans; in A.D. 53 it was made a free city. In A.D. 1315 it was occupied by the Knights of St John; in 1523 it passed under Ottoman sway. Except for occasional incursions by corsairs and some severe earthquakes the island has rarely had its peace disturbed.
The island was later conquered by the Venetians, who then sold it to the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes. Two hundred years later the Knights faced the threat of a Turkish invasion and abandoned the island. The Ottoman Empire ruled Kos for 400 years until it was transferred to Italy in 1912. In World War II, the island was taken over by Germany until 1945, when it became a protectorate of the United Kingdom, who ceded it to Greece in 1947.
Kos was also the location from where British toddler Ben Needham was abducted in 1991. The twenty-one-month-old child had been holidaying on the island with his family when he vanished.
Kos Tetradrachm, Discobolus with Tripod a prize of the athletic contest of the Dorian cities in the region. Text "KOS", Crab, 5th century BC
Kos Tetradrachm, Heracles Head with lion skin, Crab with Text "KOION" and "TIMOLYKOS". after 300 BC
Coae vestes, semitransparent light silk dresses , was a great success of the fashion industry on the island of Kos used by the Romans, and mentioned by various authors such as Lucian of Samosata
The island is part of a chain of mountains from which it became separated after earthquakes and subsidence that occurred in ancient times.
There is a wide variety of rocks in Kos which is related to its geographical formation. Prominent among these are the Quaternary layers in which the fossil remains of mammals such as horses, hippopotami and elephants have been found. The fossil molar of an elephant of gigantic proportions was presented to the Paleontology Museum of the University of Athens.
The shores of Kos Island are washed by the waters of the Karpathian Sea. Its coastline is 112 km long and is caressed by long immaculate beaches, leading to its main industry being tourism. Farming is the principal occupation of many of the island's inhabitants, with their main crops being grapes, almonds, figs, olives, and tomatoes, along with wheat and corn. Cos lettuce may be grown here, but the name is unrelated.
The main port and population centre on the island, also called Kos, is also the tourist and cultural centre, with whitewashed buildings including many hotels, restaurants and a small number of nightclubs forming the famous Kos town "barstreet". The town has a 14th century fortress at the entrance to its harbour, erected in 1315 by The Knights of Saint John of Rhodes.
The ancient physician Hippocrates is thought to have been born on Kos, and in the center of the town is the Plane Tree of Hippocrates, a dream temple where the physician is traditionally supposed to have taught. The limbs of the now elderly tree are supported by scaffolding. The small city is also home to the International Hippocratic Institute and the Hippocratic Museum dedicated to him. Near the Institute are the ruins of Asklepieion, where Herodicus taught Hippocrates medicine.
The main villages of Kos island are Kardamena, Kefalos, Tigaki, Antimachia, Mastihari, Marmari and Pyli. Smaller ones are Zia, Zipari, Platani, Lagoudi and Asfendiou. Kardamena is now a popular resort for young British holidaymakers and has a large number of bars and nightclubs.
The main religion practiced is Greek Orthodoxy and as such, Kos has one of the four cathedrals in the entire Dodecanese. There is also a Roman Catholic Church on the island as well as a Mosque catering to the Muslim community of Kos. The Synagogue is no longer used for religious ceremonies as the Jewish community of Kos was practically wiped out by the Nazis in World War II. It has however been restored and is maintained with all religious symbols intact and is now used by the Municipality of Kos for various events, mainly cultural