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Ruins galore in Kos Town centre

kos town excavations

Photo: Uffe

Around 30 major monuments in Kos town centre.

Apart from the obvious attractions of Kos Town, any new visitor cannot help but be impressed by the archaeological sites that are peppered all over the place.

Indeed, Kos Town was once considered one of the most beautiful coastal centres of the ancient world and fortunately, many of the most important sites have been excavated and remain open to the public today.

In fact the town authorities plan to turn the historic centre into a 'heritage park', linking traffic-free paths and providing special cycle routes so that holiday visitors to Kos can get the most out of them.

So, although Kos Town is already noted for its ancient heritage sites with around 30 major monuments and ancient landmarks all within a few metres of each other. they will soon be even more accessible.

The remains of imposing buildings that once adorned Kos in ancient times include a huge amphitheatre, a gymnasium and ancient Agora, or market place.

The most notable of the many excavation sites in Kos Town is the area called the Western Excavation, just a 10-minute walk from Kos centre.

The site has imposing colonnades, several magnificent mosaics as well as ancient courtyards, Roman baths, a temple to Dionysos and the recently restored Roman Odeon amphitheatre.

Most impressive is the Xystos — an ancient gymnastic area where 17 of the original roof pillars remain standing. The nearby Roman Baths were believed to have been heated by steam which was pumped through under-floor pipes.

The foundations of a building dating from the 3rd century BC show a large mosaic depicting battles between men and beasts and considered to be one of the beautiful mosaic on the island.

The jewel in the crown however is the Roman Odeon, constructed in the 2nd century AD and the venue for the public sessions of the Roman senate as well as for contests.

It also hosted the festival of the Great Asklepia, when musicians and poets from all over Greece and Asia gathered on the island of Kos.

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