We begin the next leg in Leros, an Island with a long history linked to the Ionian city of Miletos. Under the Byzantium rule, Leros belonged first to Samos, then the Fortress of Panteli was under control of the Monastery of St. John of Patmos. It was occupied by the Knights Hospitalier (Rhodes), then the Ottomans, and finally by the Italians until the end of WWII. When the Italians surrendered, it was the location for a fierce battle between the last of the German Air force and the Allies, immortalised in the novel “Guns of Navarone”. It also had an interesting modern history being a site of exile for dissidents during the Greek Communist regime. The Italian history is particularly prominent in the port town of Lakki, with its 1930s Italianate architectural design (Militaristic Art Deco) unlike any other Greek town.
We then sailed back to Kos to stay a couple of nights. Visiting the Asklepieion (Healing Sanctuary – refer to Cyclades 2015 blurb ) on a beautiful late afternoon, we had glorious views all the way to Bodrum in Turkey. It was in stark contrast to the rain we had in 2015, so it was a pleasure to revisit the site of where Hippocrates learnt his craft. An interesting little side-bar, we saw a shrine to the physician Xenophon. He was born in Kos and served the Roman Emperor Claudius. Very interesting – considering there is a Senator Xenophon involved in our own Australian politics. There were also a number of new sites open since 2015. In particular, the Casa Romana, is now open to the public. Kos was a very important centre when the Knights of Rhodes ruled the Dodecanese. This can seen by the very many artefacts, mosaics and museum pieces seen in Rhodes that came actually from Kos.
Next stop Nisyros..