Cape Sounion is a half hour drive from Hippie Fish and a mere 45 minutes from Athens center and is a major tourist attraction. As I mention in my Sea Glass page, its the southern most point of the Attica peninsula, the same historic peninsula where the Greek capital is located. The Cape is surrounded by the beautiful Saronic Gulf, and overlooks the expansive Aegean Sea stretching as far as the eye can see. Legend has it that Cape Sounion is where the king of Athens, Aegeus, jumped off of the cliff in despair, upon seeing a black sail on his son’s ship. His son, Theseus was returning from Crete where he set out to slay the half man-half bull Minotaur. They agreed that if he survived, he would fly a white sail but unfortunately he forgot to hoist it and upon seeing the black sail Aegeus jumped to his death, giving his name to the Aegean Sea.
The Cape is perhaps best known for the Temple of Poseidon perched on a gigantic cliff that juts into the middle of the sea. Dedicated to the god of the Sea, the Greeks, especially sailors, would pray and sacrifice at the temple to have a safe journey. The Temple was built in the age of Pericles around 440BC and is made from local white marble. Originally the temple consisted of 34 Doric columns, with 6 columns forming the porches on each end. The columns are 20 feet tall, more than 3 feet thick at the base, and more than 2.5 feet thick at their tops. Of the original 34 columns, 15 of them still stand in vivid contrast to the sparkling azure waters of the Aegean behind them.
Take a drive to Sounion along the winding coast road or Athenian Riviera and stop for lunch afterwards in a Taverna. My favourite is the fish taverna in Legrena. There are beaches along the riviera to stop and take a swim or spend the day relaxing. If you make a day of it SUNSET at the Temple is a must.
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