Archeologists discover ancient gymnasium near Egypt's Cairo

PHOTO: This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows an ancient dining room dating back about 2,300 years, from the Hellenistic period, a discovery made by a German-Egyptian mission, about 50 miles, southwest of Cairo.PlayEgyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP
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Egypt's antiquities ministry says archaeologists have discovered remnants of an ancient gymnasium dating back about 2,300 years, from the Hellenistic period.

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The discovery was made by a German-Egyptian mission at the site of Watfa in Fayoum province, about 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, southwest of the capital, Cairo.

Watfa is the site of the ancient village of Philoteris, founded by King Ptolemy II in the 3rd century BC.

PHOTO: This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows an ancient gymnasium dating back about 2,300 years, from the Hellenistic period, a discovery made by a German-Egyptian mission, 50 miles, southwest of the capital, Cairo.Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP
This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows an ancient gymnasium dating back about 2,300 years, from the Hellenistic period, a discovery made by a German-Egyptian mission, 50 miles, southwest of the capital, Cairo.

Ayman Ashmawi of the ministry says the gymnasium consists of a large meeting hall, once adorned with statues, a dining hall, a courtyard and a nearly 200-meter-long racetrack.

Cornelia Roemer, head of the mission, says the discovery clearly shows the impact of Greek life in Egypt, not only in Alexandria, but also in the countryside.

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