Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon

Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon

Cape Sounion, about 70 km south of Athens, is a rocky promontory overlooking the Aegean Sea.

It is located on the southern tip of Attica and was the last strip of land that soldiers watched as they walked away towards battle. This was also the first landmark they hoped to see again, as it meant they were back home. 

It is difficult to separate history from legend when it comes to Cape Sounion: this is the promontory from which Aegeus, King of Athens, would have thrown himself and which gives its name to the sea that bathes its shores. In the Odyssey, Homer mentions it as the burial place of Phrontes, the helmsman of Menelaus returning from the city of Troy. 

The great Temple dedicated to Poseidon, Greek God of the sea, was built between the sixth and seventh centuries BC. 

Originally it had 42 columns and inside it housed a statue of Poseidon about 5 meters high.

During the wars against the Persians in 480 BC, Serse destroyed the Temple, but following the Greek victory against the Persian troops at the Battle of Salamis, the Temple was rebuilt.

The archaeological excavations in this area began in 1906 and brought to light this Temple, famous already in ancient times for its position overlooking the sea.

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