Originally, the athletes washed themselves with cold water from the local sources. The first bathhouse with an installation for hot baths was built in the fifth century BC near the Kladeos river, the so-called 'baths of the Kladeos' (16 on the map). There was some opposition because taking a hot bath was considered a sign of weakness.
At about the same period, a swimming pool was also installed, nearly half the size of present-day Olympic swimming pools.

P098The southern baths (21 on the map) and eastern Roman baths (13 on the map) are later additions. The southern baths were the first baths in Greece to use the hypocaustum technique. This was a Roman novelty: spaces were heated by hot air circulating under the floors and in the walls. In the Roman period, several small private baths were installed.

© KU Leuven, 2012