While visiting the pristine gem of Kos, a trip to one of the Island’s most famous sites may just be what the “doctor” ordered.
The doctor in question is, of course, Hippocrates himself: his famous sanatorium having been founded here back in 444 BC.
For those of you travelers unaware, Hippocrates is best remembered as the father of modern medicine. The Hippocratic oath having been handed down to physicians for centuries, is the sympathetic pledge of every doctor on the planet nearly. For the tourist to Kos though, it’s significant to know that this legendary figure was born and died on the Island. The medical school founded in his name is now one of Kos’ most visited archaeological sites. Hippocrates received his medical training at an asclepieion on Kos. Prior to becoming the personal physician to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the famous Aelius Galenus treated and studied at the famed asclepeion at Pergamon, and his work was widely influenced by the teachings of Hippocrates.
In a tranquil and magnificent setting called Asklepeion, the ancient Hippocrates sanatorium is the place most agree modern medicine was first practices and taught. Located on four elevated terraces, the site’s marbles staircases, the promontory overlooking the village of Anatolia below, affords a sort of healing remedy all its own. The Asklepeion of Kos was not only a renowned Hellenic medical center, but also the temple of the god Asklepios. The site functioned for over 1,000 years before finally falling into disrepair owing to earthquakes and man made disasters.
Finally, in 1902 work was done to restore the site after excavations by the Germans and Italians began. Corinthian columns dating from the 2nd century were actually found beneath the Doric temple built 400 years earlier. The site has local guides who can offer narrative and information while you wander the hillside, but you’re sure to feel the curative nature of this spot no matter what. Also, it was here that Hippocrates authored the Aphorism, Diet Related to Illness, The Prognostics, and other important medical volumes. This is a “don’t miss” attraction for your visit to Kos, for sure.