Crossing the road from the Odeon (please be wary, cars don’t always stop at zebra crossings in Greece), you will find yourselves taken back in history and architecture that is not only Greek, but Roman and Italian too.
You can walk across mosaic flooring, see remains of Roman Baths and Pillars that have been re-erected after major earthquakes and have watched by as the island saw many different settlers and has been occupied by various Nations. The Romans and the Italians have had a huge influence on the island, especially in the town when they reconstructed it, building on the foundations of the actual ancient ruins.
It is at the Gymnasium that men would train without clothing (gymnos actually means naked), to encourage appreciation of the male form and as a tribute to the gods! Here they would become skilled in wrestling, boxing and ball games! There would also be communal bathing areas too.
It is even stated that Neptune wrestled in this very spot! His opponent was A Titan (Giant) this is according to Plutarch’s works, who was a great Greek Historian/Biographer and mentions Kos several times.
The Gymnasium became to be recognized as not only a centre for training the body, but also the mind too. Philosophers and Sophists (teachers) would frequent these places, and that is why we connect the word Gymnasium with education in Greece.
Today, children from the ages of 11-15 go to Gymnasium, and they are finally introducing more exercise/physical activity into the school programme too.
Plato and Hippocrates believed that gymnastic training was a very important part of education. Healthy mind and body make strong clever men!
Well worth a visit whilst you are in the town.