Hippocrates' Plane Tree
As is well known, the island of Kos was the birthplace of the famous Hippocrates, now considered unanimously “the father of medicine”. Born here in the distant 460 BC, Hippocrates was fortunate to grow up in an aristocratic family of doctors, very devoted to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. The story of the life of this personality is quite famous and fascinating and the whole island of Kos preserves important testimonies. First of all the so-called plane tree of Hippocrates, but also numerous statues of the Hellenistic and Romanesque age representing the philosopher, or even the remains of buildings for which he owes his construction.
It is said that the father of Hippocrates, Heraclid, was a doctor convinced to descend directly from Asclepius. It was he who approached his son to the passion for medicine, always taking him with him on his many trips to Greece. In a short time he became a famous and respected man, a cultured and wise doctor, who acquired scientific notions around the continent and had the fortune to meet wise and well-known philosophers.
Kos Town itself preserves testimonies of the life and activity of Hippocrates. In the heart of the ancient city, in what is now known as Plane Tree Square, is the so-called plane tree of Hippocrates, right next to the Castle of the Knights of Saint John. This is an over a hundred-year-old tree that would have hosted – according to tradition – the lessons of Hippocrates, who here would transmit the teachings of medicine to his followers.
Actually the tree is over 500 years old and it seems that it is also the largest plane tree in Europe: it continues to grow over the years, so much so that now it is supported by iron scaffolding and often needs care to guarantee its survival. The tree is surrounded by an almost magical atmosphere and, especially in the summer, by absolutely unique colors that only a beautiful island like Kos can give.
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