Asklepion archaeological site

Known as the first hospital built in history

Once in Kos you can not miss the opportunity to visit the most important and fascinating archaeological site of the whole island, the splendid Asklepeion, the sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. A few kilometers from Kos Town, it is perfect to reach the site by bus or scooter, for a fun excursion to discover the island’s hinterland, rich in natural and historical beauties. It is a place with a magical and surreal atmosphere, where the ruins of temples and holy buildings are immersed in a splendid panorama, that you will hardly forget.

Built between the 5th century BC and the III AC, the sacred complex occupied the eastern side of the Mount Dikeos, 100 meters above sea level. Discovered in the early 1900s, this Asklepeion is considered among the most important of all ancient Greece and not. In ancient times it was a religious place where the seriously ill were brought to receive care from the local ministers and listen to the oracle of the god Asclepius. But who exactly was Asclepius? Son of Apollo and demigod, according to tradition he dared to challenge the gods wanting to resuscitate the body of Hippolytus with a magical herb that had been delivered by a snake. For this, he was punished and electrocuted by Zeus. An important divinity on the island of Kos, strongly linked to Hippocrates, one of the most famous characters in the area.

Once you reach your destination, you will notice that the Asklepeion still retains its original structure, developed on three levels. As soon as you enter the main entrance, your attention will be immediately attracted by the Roman thermal baths on your left, which are still standing: in ancient times there were the “Asklepeia”, the famous musical and athletic competitions in honor of the god. Also at this first level you will find a retaining wall characterized by small niches, which housed the most infectious sufferers. From here you climb to the second level, where you can admire the remains of the Ionic temple of Asclepius, where the divinity used to appear in dreams to the sick bringing them healing or suggesting a cure that was then applied by the ministers. Here were also the ministers’ dormitory and an altar dedicated to Apollo. At the end you will be able to enter the third and last level of the Asklepeion, where the main temple of the sanctuary is located, in Doric style, where only the ministers could enter. From here you can enjoy a wonderful view of Turkey, a magical sight that only an archaeological site like this can give.

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