Located at the southernmost point of Attica, Cape Sounio is a stunning destination where land meets the Aegean Sea. Its significance in both myth and history resonates with the ancient Athenians who embarked on journeys to the islands, with Sounio being their last sight before departure and their first upon return. King Menelaus, returning from the Trojan War, briefly stopped at Sounio, while the mythical Athenian king Aegeas anxiously awaited his son Thiseas, who had slain the fearsome Minotaur. Believing his son to be dead, Aegeas tragically fell from the rock into the sea, leading to the naming of the sea as the Aegean Sea in his honor.
BETWEEN MYTH AND HISTORY
With a history dating back to 3000 B.C., Cape Sounio boasts the Temple of Poseidon, an architectural marvel constructed between 444 and 440 BC. Made entirely of white marble in the Doric style, the temple stands proudly with its 6×13 columns. German archaeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld uncovered these remnants, which hold a special place within the geography of ancient Greece. Aligned with the Temple of Aphaia in Aegina and the Parthenon, the Temple of Poseidon forms an isosceles triangle known as the “holy triangle,” showcasing the deliberate and sophisticated planning of ancient Athens.
Beyond the renowned Temple of Poseidon, another hidden gem lies within the Sounio area—the Sanctuary of Athena. Positioned on a flat plateau approximately 500 meters northeast of the temple, this lesser-known site reveals the deep connection between the Athenians and the goddess of wisdom, Athena. Although less preserved, the Sanctuary of Athena adds another layer of historical richness and complexity to the region.
Sounio carries further intriguing tales from ancient times. It served as a “prison” for failed politicians, where those who failed to fulfill their promises could be exiled through a practice called “ostracism.” Additionally, Sounio played a crucial role in the silver trade, with its strategic location and proximity to the significant silver mines of Lavrio. The mining and trading of silver were pivotal in shaping the wealth and power of Ancient Athens, further highlighting the historical importance of Sounio.
A trip to Cape Sounio offers a breathtaking experience, where the convergence of myth and history intertwines with awe-inspiring natural beauty and architectural marvels, leaving visitors captivated by its enchanting allure. Do not hesitate to contact us here for an unforgettable journey filled with myth and history.
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