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Kos free culture plea

- by Dabs Banner

'costs are too high for cultural events'.

Cultural leaders on Kos are pleading for help to upgrade some of the island's major archaeological sites and boost tourist holiday visitors. Top of the list is for Kos island's cultural groups to have free use of important archaeological and cultural sites, such as Kos Castle and the town's Odeon, to stage major events and exhibitions.

Costs of hiring such prestigious outdoor venues is proving prohibitive and both locals and holiday visitors have been forced to watch important cultural events in places with inadequate facilities.

In a letter to Greek culture minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, Kos leaders point to a recent cultural event on Kos which was held in an old factory and a "shame for the artists, for the Kos people and defamation for our guests."

The event, which also attracts many Kos holiday visitors, was organised by the South Aegean Region and the Municipality of Kos but could gain no concessions from the government for holding it at any of Kos Town's archaeological sites.

They particularly want free access to the Asklepion for the annual swearing of the Hippocratic Oath. This ceremonial event attracts hundreds of onlookers but requires a €3,000 hiring fee which the island says it can ill afford in these tight financial times.

Asklipieio of Kos is one of the most important archaeological monuments of Greece, regarded as the birthplace of modern medical science by Hippocrates.

Asklipieio was also a sanatorium as well as a medical centre and ancient doctors were also priests at the temple of Asklipios.

As well as free access to important sight the Kos cultural leaders also want opening hours of important sites in Kos Town extended from 3pm to 7.30pm to encourage more holiday visitors.

They also want work on CASA Roman site to be speeded up along with renovation work of the Museum of Kos. And they want better lighting in the Roman Odeon of Kos which remains dark despite having an electricity supply.

They would also like to see the unification of the archaeological sites that lie across the town of Kos.

The excavated archaeological sites in Kos are dominated by the Western excavation. Ancient ruins here include a Roman nymphaeum with mosaic floors and the foundations of several fine houses. The best is the House of Europa where a floor mosaic depicts Europa being carried off by a bull.

The highlight is the Casa Romana – a 3rd century Roman villa recently restored. It has three courtyards, some swimming pools, and several mosaics. Nearby is the Roman Odeon theatre now beautifully restored.