The Hippocrates Tree is one of the island’s most fascinating attractions. It is a legendary place, said to be the preferred spot for the father of medicine, who, according to local myths, used to spend hours under the shade of a platane teaching his pupils.
The current attraction known as the platane tree of Hippocrates is an oriental plane (Platanus orientalis). Its age is estimated around 500 years, and there is a strong possibility that the current plant is a descendant of the original tree which stood here in the time of Hippocrates. Cuttings from the new tree were planted at different locations around the world, mainly at sites associated with medicine, like universities, hospitals, and libraries, in Canada, the United States, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, and so on. With these, the legacy of Hippocrates and a part of Kos live on.
The Hippocrates Tree on Kos is an impressive sight. Its trunk has a diameter of about 12 meters, the largest for a platane on the Continent. But the shaft is hollow and many of the branches need support – hence the metal scaffolding you can observe sustaining the tree. Plus, insects and fungi damage some of the branches, despite all efforts by local authorities to preserve this legendary landmark of Kos.
The Hippocrates Tree is the centerpiece of a small park in the center of the old town of Kos. It is always surrounded by tourists in the summer season. Near the tree you can find stands selling hats, t-shirts, souvenirs and greeting cards. You will also see two beautiful Ottoman fountains next to the tree of Hoppocrates. The park is located opposite Neratzia Castle, not far from Cafe Neratzia, the Kos Police Station, and the Turkish Baths of Kos.
The Tree of Hippocrates featured image by JD554 via Wikimedia Commons.