Kos or Cos, Greek Κώς; is a Greek island in the Dodecanese group of islands, in the Aegean Sea. It measures 25 miles (40 km) by 5 miles (8 km) and is closer to mainland Turkey than it is to mainland Greece. The island has both fertile plains and infertile highlands. Population: 30,500.
The island boasts long sandy beaches with large hotels and secluded villages, 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, tomatoes and lettuce, along with wheat and corn.
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. 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.
The island was originally colonised by the Kares who were invaded by the Dorians in the 11th century BC, who developed into what became known as the Athenian Federation, expelling the Persians twice. In 366 BC the town of Kos was built, then soon after the island became a part of the Roman Empire, then the Byzantine Empire. The island was conquered by the Venetians, who then sold it to The Knights of Saint John of Rhodes. Two hundred years later the Knights faced the threat of a Turkish invasion, and so abandoned the island. The Turks then ruled Kos for 400 years until it was handed over to the Italians in 1912. In World War II, the island was taken over by Germany, until 1945, when it became a protectorate of Britain, who ceded it to Greece in 1947.