PYLI is an ancient village, situated right in the middle of the island of Kos. Turn left at the duck pond, from the main road out of Town or (obviously right… if you’re coming from the other direction!) The ducks are very well fed thanks to all the local children, mine included.
Pyli is a small, beautiful village, not a tourist resort. It has many traditional stone houses, small and large churches, a quaint square, local tavernas and coffee bars. Mostly it is famous for it’s natural spring water that flows from six fountains. There are also ancient archaeological vaults too, just a short walk away from the square. It has a wonderful Greek atmosphere and there are plenty of attractions, for shoppers, walkers, sight-seers and those who enjoy delicious food, a nice cool beer or two, or an ice-cream!
A favorite stop for Island Tours and last year (2010), a train (on wheels) from Tigaki Square ambled through the countryside to this friendly village. Certainly worth a stop if you are hiring a car too and Pyli can also be reached by the local bus service.
In close proximity to the main square you will find a ‘Pyliotiko Spiti’ (an old house), a house that gives you an idea of how the local village people of Greece used to live in days gone by. There are three small rooms, traditionally decorated with many of the original pieces of furniture and household items from 70 years ago and more. Photos can be taken, and there is a small entrance fee to pay.
The church close to the square is usually open, and you can venture inside, light a candle and experience the incredible warmth and wealth of an Orthodox Church. Supreme paintings, and the splendor of the icons and beauty surround you.
Home made, hand crafted gifts can be bought also in Pyli, art work, ceramics, jewelry and various statues and other art work. Carefully and wonderfully displayed. Well worth taking a look at, even if you are not buying.
Carnival time in Pyli is famous, people dancing in the streets and acting on stage. Greek dancing and the chance to try local food and be part of the celebrations. Also St Georges Day is popular in Pyli, they always hold horse races in the streets.
If you are not restricted for time, you could walk through the village and up into the hills. There are many villas being built in this area today, the road takes you past a spectacularly large church too, which again, if open is worth a visit.
Children’s parks, shops, places to eat and cafe bars line the narrow roads. The further you go, you will eventually find yourself in Old Pyli, (sign posted), where the views and countryside is remarkable and the mountain feels as if you can reach out and touch it.
Higher up you go, you will pass abandoned settlements in ruins, there is also an old church which is worth a mention. The Church of Ypapanti, built in the 14th Century, with pillars actually taken from an ancient Greek temple and finally the old walls of a Byzantine Castle, which was reconstructed in the days of The Knights of St. John can also be located. The Castle encompasses a large area, surrounded by idealic countryside. If you enjoy roaming around in the fresh air, it is a perfect outing.
HOW and WHY IS HERCULES LINKED TO KOS - ANTIMACHIA AND THE VILLAGES OF PYLI
According to mythology, Hercules, was actually on his way back to Greece, he had been on an expedition to Troy. However, he sailed into a devastating storm. The storm had been conjured up by Hera, who had found out that Hercules was her husband Zeus’s love child, with a mortal . Five out of the six boats of Hercules went down and only Hercules and a few friends actually survived. They swam to the nearest beach which happened to be the in Kos.
Once ashore they came across a shepherd called Antagoras and asked for shelter and food. Antagoras refused and insulted Hercules and his friends. The hero got mad and fought with the shepherd. As fighting continued, , the friends of Hercules, as well as the friends of Antagoras, who came from a nearby village, Antimachia also became involved. After a while, Hercules and his friends finally managed to escape and found refuge in the house of a Thracian woman; disguised as women, they escaped though the nearby wood and arrived close to the actual village of Pyli. The residents of the village welcomed the refugees and declared war on the citizens of Antimachia. Eyrypylos, was the king of Antimachia, and fought with Hercules.
Hercules was wounded but went on to win the battle, killing King Eyryplos. A new king succeeded, Halkon. and his sister Halkiopi became the wife of Hercules. Halkiopi gave birth to a son, called Thessalos, who, later, would become the king of Kos and Nisyros.