Cape Sounion has one of the most spectacular temples in Greece, not so much for the temple itself but for its location. The Temple of Posiedon is built on top of a sheer cliff face balancing over the Aegean sea on the southern most tip of Attica. Legend has it that Cape Sounio is the spot where King Aegeus of Athens threw himself of the cliffs into the sea giving the name of the sea ‘ the Aegean’. The reason for his suicide was that he saw his son’s – Theseus – ship returning from Crete sailing with black sails, and thought his son to be dead.
The temple we see today was built in 444BC, but other temples stood in the same spot for centuries, one such temple was destroyed by the Persians in 480BC.The temple was built for the worship of Poseidon the God of the Sea, and so is perfectly placed perched above the Aegean sea. Fifteen of its original brilliant white columns remain and has been a landmark for both ancient and modern sailors.
The Temple has some friezes that depict the mythological battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs, also of the stories of Theseus – son of Poseidon. If you look closely on the south side of the temple you can see some graffiti where Lord Byron carved his name into the marble during his travels around Greece.
Sounion is about an hours drive from Athens, although there are lots of day trips and busses from Athens that visit Sounio.
Opening hours: (summer)09:00 – 20:00. (Winter) Tue – Sun 08:30 – 17:00. Closed on all public holidays. (source: Athens Greek Guide), photography by KWO Tsoumenis

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