On Friday July 21st, two tourists were killed and nearly 500 others were injured during an earthquake that struck the Greek island of Kos, birthplace of Hippocrates, founding father of modern medicine. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake as being of magnitude 6.7, with Greek and Turkish estimates a fraction lower. A tremor measuring a preliminary 4.4 magnitude struck at 8:09 p.m. (1709 GMT) on Saturday, and sixteen minutes later, a second 4.6-magnitude tremor struck. Now, crews of experts have begun examining the damage to cultural monuments and infrastructure on the island.

[Ancient columns toppled over in the southern part
of the 2nd-century agora in the main town]

The culture ministry team sent to the island included the ministry general secretary Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, the supervisor, engineers and conservators from the Dodecanese Antiquities Ephorate, as well as the head of the Newer Monuments Service for the Dodecanese. They inspected the medieval Castle Nerantzia, the Casa Romana, the Hanji Hasan Mosque, the Nefterdar Mosque, the medieval fortifications, the archaeological museum and warehouses and the other monuments and sites in the town of Kos. The inspection revealed damage to sites around the town, especially to the castle and the Ottoman mosques.

The tremor also caused the movement and damage of exhibits, especially pottery, at the island’s archaeological museum and this will be temporarily closed until the damage is restored, the ministry said, along with the Casa Romana monument on the island. For the more contemporary monuments, there will be collaboration with the Kos municipality, the ministry added.

The archaeological site of the Kos Asklepieion will remain open, however, and for the period when the museum and the Castle on Kos will be closed, the culture ministry is arranging to open to the public certain archaeological sites that were previously closed to visitors.

A Central Service team from the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments Restoration directorate will go to Kos on Saturday and Monday in order to assess the situation and finalize the actions to be taken moving forward. In the mean time, preliminary protection measures will be taken and the monuments will be restored after due study.