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Stoa on the Agora in Kos


The eastern stoa agora was 316 m long and kept its course throughout all the stages of reconstruction. Along its northern part, near the port, located at the rear of the portico, i.e. in the area of today's agora, there were elongated spaces that probably served as warehouses even in the 2nd century BC.


In imperial, i.e. Roman times, commercial activities were moved to the agora. In the southern part of the agora, the spaces of the table were most likely used as workshops (e.g. for the production of colored pigments) or shops.

Outside the area of the Agora's excavations, there is the so-called south stoa. It is located near the altar of Dionysus. There, at a depth of 3.5 m below ground level, small traces of the eastern stoa were discovered. This proves how long the building was.


It is worth visiting this place, because thanks to the restoration (on a scale of 1: 1), you can imagine what this building, popular in antiquity, looked like, protecting against rain and scorching sun, and at the same time covering the rooms. It is worth adding that this restoration does not consist in rebuilding the entire building up to the roof, but in the foundation walls with column bases.

Port basilica and baptistery


The three-nave port basilica comes from the 5th-6th centuries AD. It is probably one of the first buildings of the new religion built on Kos, where Christianity was established in the 4th century, as evidenced by the participation of Bishop Meliphron of Kos in the Session of the First Ecumenical Council held at Nicaea in Bitynia in 325.


The basilica is considered to be one of the largest Christian sites in the Mediterranean. It is seventy-two meters (72 meters) long and twenty-three and eight-tenths (23.8 meters) wide. The basilica, whose foundations have been preserved, was built on the remains of the port facility and the eastern quay, which were filled in to create an artificial embankment. This was to increase the level of foundation of the basilica so that the church would dominate the area of the entire city.


The basilica was built using material from ancient monuments. This principle was practiced everywhere because they wanted to get rid of everything that was pagan. This is one of the main reasons why antiquities are difficult to find. The paved atrium was surrounded on three sides by porticoes, the western one being double. Naos, the most important room in the temple, had mosaic floors and was divided by granite columns with smooth shafts, which the knights later incorporated into the gate of Nerantzia Castle.


The baptistery, i.e. a building erected to perform the rite of baptism, was located a short distance away. Today it is difficult to find it in the maze of stone foundations.

Residential buildings in the Kos agora

The new city of Kos, founded in 366 BC it was organized according to the urban system perfected by Hippodamos. This system provided a regular street plan with a grid of parallel streets intersecting at right angles. The streets were 4 ÷ 4.5 m wide and the central artery leading to the Asclepieon was 33 m wide.


The city was supplied with water through a system of clay pipes laid under ancient roads. The population of the city in the Hellenistic period consisted of about 300 families, which is 3,000 people including slaves. Each family could accommodate four two-story residences on a plot of 410 m2, surrounded on all sides by streets, which ensured complete independence. The unusually large sizes of the houses indicate that they were designed to meet the commercial needs of the metropolis.


Five consecutive habitat stages have been identified; from the founding of the city to the early Christian era. In the northwestern part of the ancient city, a selected Hellenistic house was examined. He revealed the three-part division of the building into a residential part, a courtyard and a business space. Along the north side of the house there was a row of three shops accessed from the street, so it didn't disturb the lives of the residents.


The examined building with a total area of 150 m2, 75 m2 on each floor. On the ground floor there were rooms related to the daily presence of the household members. On the upper floor there were bedrooms and the quarters of the lady of the house.

Temple of Aphrodite in Kos Agora

Aphrodite was considered to protect marriage, as a deity of love life. Records from the 3rd century BC have been found near the sanctuary. according to which all citizens were ordered to make a sacrifice during the first year of marriage.


It is worth mentioning that regardless of Kos, the Greek goddess of beauty had sanctuaries in all major port cities. All sea citizens were obliged to make sacrifices to Aphrodite. Moreover, the minimum value of the donation was set. Sailors had to offer a full animal worth 30 drachmas or 15 drachmas in cash as an offering to the priestess, plus 1 drachma to the temple treasury. Fishermen, merchants and ship captains were required to make donations to the sanctuary in the amount of 5 drachmas.


In the case of neglecting payments, a penalty was imposed in the amount twice as high as the designated one. The priestess was elected for life and had to be healthy above all. The vault was opened once a year in the presence of Prostatai. The contents were divided equally between the priestess and the treasury of the state, which is Kos island.


The beginnings, i.e. the establishment of the sanctuary, date back to the 11th century BCE, but the ruins that are hard to find anyway date back to the turn of the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. The temple was actually a large complex of four hundred Doric houses, with shops and other rooms. There were two twin temples with altars. Everything was destroyed in a strong earthquake in 469 CE. During the reign of the Order of St. John the Baptist, which after the earthquake in 1933 was moved to the north-eastern outskirts of the agora.

A small stone church in the agora in the city of Kos

When, after the earthquake in 1933, during the removal of rubble from the city, it was found that the church had been built on the sanctuary of Aphrodite, a decision was made to move the stone building to the north-eastern outskirts of the agora.


The church itself comes from the beginning of the 15th century. Since it was the reign of the Order of St. John on the island, it was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, who was the patron saint of the Knights. The main theme of the interior design was the presentation of an apocalyptic vision. It was related to the Christian beliefs of that period, about the coming end of the earthly world.

Hercules Sanctuary in Kos agora


The island of Kos is strongly associated with the mythological Hercules. According to legend, he arrived shipwrecked to the northern beaches with several companions. The then king, Eurypylus, considered him an ordinary robber and ordered him to be captured, thus forcing the hero to flee to the mountainous regions near Pyla. Of course, it was not without clashes, in which Heracles defeated the ruler and handed over the rule to Chalcona. These events meant that the hero was worshiped here like no other. This is evidenced by the remains of magnificent temples and the name of the Antimachia commune, taken from the name of the son of Hercules, Antimachos. But it is not everything. Every year, on May 16 and 17, there was a festival in his honor, during which sacrifices were made in the form of small animals, including fish, and then feasted together.

The place of worship, located in the agora in Kos, dates from the 2nd century BC. A rectangular building in plan, was built on the northern edge of the mound. The only remaining parts to this day are:

  • foundations, the so-called Efthentiria,

  • platform on which the superstructure was erected, the so-called Crepidoma,

  • stone blocks built into the lower part of the wall, the so-called Orthostate.


The sanctuary was destroyed in the earthquake in 469 CE. This time is considered the end of the cult of Hercules. Thermal baths were erected here, which survived until the 7th century and whose remains are still visible today.


However, during the reign of the Order of Hospitallers, the church of St. Demetrios.

Port facilities around the Kos agora


The Middle Ages in Kos are primarily the reign of the Knights of St. John, who had their headquarters on the nearby island of Rhodes, where the magic of the so-called Old Stone Town built by an extremely wealthy and profitable order.


Kos came under the rule of the Order Knights in 1337 and remained under their rule until 1522, when the island was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Under the rule of the Knights Hospitallers (that was the name of the order that came to the Greek islands from Jerusalem), the island was an independent administrative unit.


These Knights subjugated two more islands near Kos; Leros and Kalymnos, and the city itself was divided into two sectors; castle and thematic Hellenistic agora. It is proved that in the 14th century, when Heredia was the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, and Schlegelholz was the commander of Kos, fearing an attack by the Turkish Sultan, not only a wall was erected as a fortification, but a 16 m wide moat was dug along the south city side.


This part, the southern side of the fortifications, has been better preserved to this day. While visiting the city, you can come across the remains of five gates, which after the recent earthquake in July 2017, were badly damaged.

Numerous information boards are irreplaceable

a source of knowledge for visitors

Agora in Kos


The southern end of the square was beyond today's agora, open to the public. There was a round building with a Roman dome and a workshop where pigments were produced, incl. the so-called "egyptian blue".


Coins and copper statues from Roman times have been discovered here. The southern sector was excavated by the Greek Archaeological Service (photos of Google maps show excavations). It is known that numerous earthquakes led to the discovery of various stages of construction. For example, in 142, it destroyed many buildings that were not rebuilt.


By contrast, this in AD 469 or AD 554 marked the end of the ancient city and the transition to early Christian and Byzantine construction. The ruins we can see today are remnants of the Roman period or even more recent times.

Visiting the Agora in Kos is not easy. Hardly anything protrudes from the ground level. So it's hard to imagine what it looked like several centuries BC. It is good that numerous information boards not only describe, but also show what a former temple, square, town hall, stoa or even a residential building probably looked like.


Sightseeing is made difficult by the fact that successive earthquakes destroyed something that later created something completely new. As a result, several completely unrelated objects stood on one foundations over the past centuries.


Sightseeing is made difficult by the fact that successive earthquakes destroyed something that later created something completely new. As a result, several completely unrelated objects stood on one foundations over the past centuries.

Stadion Panatenajski w Atenach

Jak nazwa wskazuje, jest miejscem ciekawym przyrodniczo. Stąd bowiem wypływają źródła, które zaopatrują wyspę w wodę słodką, a więc źródlaną. Miejsce jest bardzo urokliwe i przyjemne latem, bowiem liczna tu zieleń nadaje przyjemny klimat i zieloną, bardzo naturalną kolorystykę miejsca. Miejsce nie do końca jest dziełem natury. Włoscy inżynierowie zbudowali tunel transportujący wodę z naturalnego źródła.

więcej na stronie  dolina siedmiu źródeł 

Dolina siedmiu źródeł

Stadion Panatenajski w Atenach

Visiting the agora in Kos


Today, visitors can see the market square, part of the city's fortifications, the Sanctuary of Aphrodite and Hercules, the remains of private houses, but also parts of the ancient port city.


The Agora consisted of 16 buildings arranged according to the Hippodamean grid, i.e. the regular layout of streets intersecting at right angles. The central market square is considered to be one of the largest in Hellenistic times. There was a huge building here, the courtyard was 50 meters wide, and ... not a trifle, because it was 300 meters (according to some reports even 350 meters) in length !!!


The northern part was connected with the city wall, at the same time being the entrance to the port and due to its proximity, the agora here had a purely commercial character. It was the Northern Sector that was excavated and partially restored by the Italian Archaeological Service. The eastern side, but probably also the west side, were shops, limited by two streets, of which the eastern side was one of the most important axes of the city, which is why its width is as much as 8.8 m.

Restored two columns with entablature,

as a symbol of a huge hundred, over 300 m long




Ancient city of Kos


The earthquake that hit the island of Kos in 1933 caused enormous damage. During the removal of rubble, ancient buildings were found, which previously could only be guessed at.


Among others, two very important areas of the ancient city; port facilities and the administrative and commercial center, i.e. Agora, which is a kind of market. Its construction dates back to 366 BC, when Kos became the administrative center of the island. It was here that the cultural and commercial center was. It was also here that the headquarters of the ancient city of Kos was located.


The Agora was built on an artificial embankment, whose task was to compensate for the difference in levels between the port and the southern district of the city.

Sanktuarium Herkulesa

tower south - west

corner tower

gate on Hippocrates Street

entrance gate to the agora






There are numerous information boards in the agora

what was there, in what period and what the building looked like

Świątynia Afrodyty