Cape Sounion, at one of the southernmost points of Greece, together with the columns of the ancient temple of Poseidon, is the perfect place for a sunset show.
The picturesque Cape Sounion is located in Greece at the southernmost point of the Attica peninsula and is one of our top 10 sights of Greece. The famous marble temple of Poseidon has greeted ships entering the port of Athens there for thousands of years.
Cape Sounion is about an hour's drive from the Greek capital Athens and is extremely popular for day trips. The way to Cape Sounion leads along the Attic Riviera on the national road 91 and past some noble settlements. There are regular bus connections from Athens.
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PICTURES: Cape Sounion
The headland rises 60m above the Mediterranean Sea and drops steeply into the depths on all sides. Cape Sounion is thus a breathtaking vantage point over the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding islands. On a clear day, the view extends almost 100km to the island of Milos. From here you can watch in a spectacular way how the sun sinks into the sea in the evening.
Legend of Cape Sounion
It is said that King Aegeus, the father of Theseus, threw himself into the sea from Cape Sounion. He was waiting for his son's return from the battle against the Minotaur and when he saw his ship with black sails, the agreed sign that Theseus had fallen in Crete, he took his own life. Unfortunately, Theseus had only forgotten to exchange the black sails for white ones in his flush of victory, and so his father died completely in vain. Instead, the Agaeis was named after the unfortunate king.
Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion
The remains of the temple of Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas, are still enthroned on an artificial terrace. In ancient times, a trading city with places of worship of Poseidon and Athena was located here. Traces of the moorings from the 4th century BC are still visible today.
The Temple of Poseidon was built in the 5th century BC at the same time as the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens and served as a sacrificial site for sailors. Hundreds of them gathered in the Temple of Poseidon to make offerings to the fierce god of the sea and to pray for a good journey.
In addition to prayers, the faithful offered animal sacrifices or votive offerings, many of which were placed directly at the cape. One of these is the famous Sounion Warrior, now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Together with other so-called kouroi (statues of young men), he watched over the cape since the 7th century BC.
Agrileza marble columns
Of the 42 Doric columns that once surrounded the Temple of Poseidon, only a few still stand upright at Cape Sounion. The columns were made of Agrileza marble, which is not quite as fine as the marble from the Penteli Mountains used on the Acropolis. However, the columns were built without oxidising iron mountings and thus still shine in immaculate white today.
Only here and there is it interrupted by ancient graffiti, for even the British admiral Lord Byron immortalised himself by name at the Temple of Poseidon. Of the other sculptures, reliefs and friezes that once adorned the Temple of Poseidon, unfortunately only sparse remains remain.
Cape Sounion National Park
Cape Sounion and the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon have been declared a national park, thus putting a stop to development on the idyllic cape. There are only two tavernas and a small hotel near it, which absolutely do not disturb the idyllic setting of Cape Sounion. On the contrary, the tavernas provide a delicious fish meal and a relaxing glass of wine against a breathtaking backdrop.