23.01.17

The secrets of a temple: explore the history of the Temple of Poseidon, in Sounion

‘Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep, where nothing, save the waves and I, may hear our mutual murmurs sweep…’ (by Byron, from his poem Isles of Greece)

Echoing Byron’s romantic words, the famous Temple of Poseidon and its dramatic scenery will inspire the deepest emotions and simply take your breath away. Dominating the highest point of an impressive cliff in Cape Sounion, located approximately 69km south of Athens city centre, the imposing temple arise from the carved hills and overlooks the sea with all its grandeur and stature, telling stories of the intriguing myths that brings along and its long history that dates back to the Bronze Age.

Close your eyes, feel the breeze on the skin of your face and listen to everything that it has to say.

Constructed in 444 – 440 B.C. over the remains of an older one dating from the Archaic period, the temple is thought to have been built by Iktinos, the architect of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens’ Ancient Agora and was dedicated to Poseidon, god of the sea – constituting one of the most emblematic altars where mariners, but also entire cities and states, could propitiate the god in order to appease him and help them have a safe return home.

Propitiating a god, though, is not the only thing to which the temple of Poseidon at Sounion owes its standing-between-legend-and-history status. It is its Doric marble columns that sailors were looking forward to see glittering through the sea fog – because this meant that they would have a safe return home; it was from this cliff that king Aegeus drowned himself when he thought that his son, Theseus, was killed in Crete by the mythical King Minos; and it was here that king Menelaus stopped on his way back from Troy, according to Homer.

Mythical or not, unique stories have always been lingering in the Temple of Poseidon, having left their mark in this sacred place – like Byron’s inscription on the front pillars. It’s time for you to create your own, by putting yourself in this legendary frame.