Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is one of the main attractions of Greece.

I have been twice and still I feel to go there. In my second visit, I enjoyed more than the first one. I strongly feel this is must seen place, and very easily reachable from Athens.

The site is accessible by road from Athens .This is the scenic highway 91, which closely follows the west coast of Attica (the "Attic riviera"), passing through numerous upscale residential districts and resorts, such as Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza. There is a regular municipal bus service to Sounion from Omonia Square. (from wikipedia)

As I mentioned in my first post the driveway is just amazing, probably the best I have ever had. Even our manager from Germany, who was in a short visit to Greece, agrees that it’s much better than the coastal drives of US. The beauty of the driveway is wonderful for the combination of different gray colour of rocks and hills and the other way the red and blue combination of setting sun in Mediterranean. The green valleys and modern-old houses was enriching the sceneries.
We left Athens through Glyfada and took the coastal root. We were in the coastal town of Anavassos, famous for its seaside fish taverns, after that couple of nice beaches in blue Mediterranean. Every bent of the hills unfolded fascinating secrets of nature. I cant express the beauty of the place, quoting some lines from Matt Barrett's Greece Travel Guides
As you leave the coastal suburbs of Athens you pass towns and settlements,
mostly in bays, harbors and beaches. Some Athenians have built their summer and
weekend homes out here and villages have sprung up out of nowhere. But the
closer you get to Sounion on the tip of the Attiki peninsula the less houses
there are until finally you come to a few hotels and a nice little beach with
two tavernas. The temple of Sounion sits above the beach on a mountain that juts
out into the sea and was dedicated to Poseidon. In ancient times the temple was
the last sign of civilization the Athenians saw as they sailed away from home..

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

And the details of the temple is quoting from this site.

The temple that we see today was built in 444 BCE and stands on the site of an
older temple. An Ionic frieze, made from 13 slabs of Parian marble, is located
on the east side of the temple's main approach path. The frieze is very eroded,
but is known to have depicted the mythological battle of the Lapiths and
Centaurs, the Gigantomachia, and the adventures of the hero Theseus who was said
in some legends to be the son of Poseidon. The east pediment (of which only a
seated female figure is preserved) probably depicted the fight between Poseidon
and Athena for the domination of Attica. Local marble, taken from quarries at
nearby Agril├ęza, was used for the temple's 34 slender Doric columns. The
remaining 15 columns have been restored. When the temple was built there were
special features incorporated which helped it combat its unique location on the
water's edge. The columns were cut with only 16 flutings instead of the usual
20, thus reducing the surface area exposed to the elements and subsequently
reducing the corrosion caused by the constant sea spray.

The temple of Poseidon is truly amazing; the robust architecture just in the end of mainland reminded me Kannyakumarika of India (the south most point). The sunset from this point is just awesome, but we were unlucky because the sky was clouded. But the view of small islands in the sea, the boats in serene Mediterranean, and the temple in land side made it one of the favorites of mine.

A view of the sea from Poseidon Temple

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Ananda Niyogi said...

Nice shades of blue...

I have done the Pacific Highway 101 in he US too (Monterey-Carmel & 17 Mile Drive), but to me the Great Ocean Drive in Australia was the best...

It was not only the blue/green water of the Pacific Ocean & the hills - but also the wildlife. You get to see koalas/kangaroos/wallabis all along the drive. The 12 Apostles are also a sight to behold!

Kalyan said...

WoW...some wonderfully captured shots and it was very nice reading the description of the place. Your writing really is enticing me to this beautiful place. All the shots has been amazing!

Paros Shepherd said...

Thanks for such a complete account. I definitely need to do more traveling on the mainland.

Thanks, too for the comments on my Paros site.

Mridula said...

Hmm, shall I mention envy? By the way do you speak a bit of Greek?

Pijush said...

@Ananda, Thanks for the comment, nice to know about your interesting drives. Keep enjoying.

@Kalyan, Thanks very much, soon you will get to see these kind of places as the World is getting shorter day by day.

@Paros, Thanks to you for such a nice blog. Keep visiting places and I will definitely read all of them.

@Mridula, Yes its a good exp. I can envy on you as well for the wonderful trips of Himalayas. I cant not speak Greek except few words; one girl was asking me same question here yesterday and was surprised how I am surviving.

Sunita said...

These snaps are really very beautiful giving us a good flavour of Greece.