Nerantzia, the Castle of the Knights of Saint John, is one of the Kos landmarks you cannot miss.
Nerantzia Castle, the Gem of the Harbor
A fortress that took about 130 years to build, Nerantzia is an imposing edifice, with basalt columns, Hellenistic gates, circular towers, and an impressive bridge.
Fortunately for the intrepid tourist, Nerantzia is well preserved, making for a postcard-pretty view at the entrance of the harbor of Kos. Grab your camera to capture some of the best moments of your stay on the island here. The view is captivating, and for a moment you will forget that this is a Greek island, as tall palms suggest a more exotic location for those who are unaware that the largest natural palm forest in Europe is on Greek territory as well, at Vai, on Crete.
But, back to Kos, Nerantzia dominates the harbor, distracting from the small stretch of beach nearby. The castle was erected of local stone, which is significant, considering the size of the building. Its glory is long gone, but the remains still speak of the Knights of Saint John, which occupied the island for over 200 years.
The castle stands on a promontory, which was an island during the Venetians occupation. The Phoinikon bridge that connected this island to the isle of Kos can still be seen, a testament to what was once a magnificent sight. Tourists flock here every year to catch a glimpse of the past of Kos. The site is enchanted when bougainvillea is in bloom.
When you visit Nerantzia, don’t forget to stop by the museum of the Castle of the Knights to learn about its history, from 1380-1514 when it was erected, till the day it fell. The museum also showcases a variety of altars, sculptures, and inscriptions, in addition to documents and maps.