An ancient Greek bathhouse dating back 2,200 years has been discovered in the ancient Egyptian seaport town of Berenike on the Red Sea’s western shore.
According to Marek Woźniak, assistant professor at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures at the Polish Academy of Science, the bathhouse would have likely served as a place of relaxation for the military stationed in the region.
He is in charge of researching Berenike’s Hellenistic period remains (approximately 323 B.C. to 30 B.C. ), the time between the deaths of Alexander the Great and Cleopatra VII.
Greek culture, including architectural styles, flourished throughout the Middle East during this time, writes Owen Jarus for Live Science.
It has been believed that each of the bathrooms would have had cold or lukewarm water, as well as a separate room for hot baths. Water entered the structure from two large reservoirs fed by a single well.
Bathhouses in Hellenistic times “served as places to meet and relax after work or sporting exercise, hence they were often combined with gymnasia ” Woźniak said. It’s probable that a gymnasium was constructed to the west of the bathhouse .
Berenike had a strong military presence and was a center for imported goods and war elephants from East Africa around the time the bathhouse’s waters were flowing, he added.