Category Archives: Attica

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

The temple stands on the Cape Sounio, about 70 km from Athens.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

The photo below is not really good as it was taken from the bus, but it shows well the particular position of the temple.

Temple on the Cliff

Temple on the Cliff

The temple was surrounded by the fortification wall and the site functioned also as the fortification guarding the Saronic Gulf.

The dedication of the temple to Poseidon is known thanks to an inscription.

Columns of the Temple, Sounio

Columns of the Temple, Sounio

The temple is Doric, and the material is gray-veined local marble from Agriléza, about 5 km from here. It was constructed at the middle of the fifth century BCE, and there are some important similarities with the Hephaisteion in Athens and the temple of Nemesis in Rhamnous.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

The sculpted friezes and metopes are not extant on site. Some parts of the friezes are housed in the museum of Lavrio. They are badly eroded, but seem to depict the battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs, the Gigantomachia, and exploits of Theseus, just as in the Hephaisteion.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

The construction work itself, however, started earlier; the lower foundation of the temple, made of poros stone, dates back to the beginning of the fifth century BCE. In the photo above, the lowest part with not-smooth surface belong to this period. The work was interrupted probably by the Persian War.

According to another theory, however, there was an earlier temple of poros stone constructed at the late sixth century, but, as it was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BCE, a new one was built on the old foundation.

The photo below shows the same part as in the photo above but from the different angle.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

The number of the columns was originally 34 (6 by 13). The stylobate is 31.1m. by 13.4m. The flutes of the column are 16, and not 20 as normaly are.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

As you see in the photo below and in the first photo, the ground where the temple stands is not flat.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Bibliography

  • Robin Barber, Greece (Blue Guide), London- N.Y. 2001 (Revised reprint of the 6th edition of 1995), p. 143.
  • Christopher Mee and Antony Spawfort, Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide Oxford/ Oxford University Press 2001, 96-100.

INDEX of SOUNIO SECTION

Sounio
Temple of Poseidon
Stoa, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Fortification, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Propylon, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Sanctuary of Athena Sounias
Beaches

Sounio

One of the most famous ancient temple in Greece because of its picturesque position, on the cliff of Cape Sounio.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

How to Get There

KTEL bus to Sounio

KTEL bus to Sounio

The buses to Sounion are operated by the KTEL Attikis and depart from the Aigyptou Square, at the corner of Ioulianou and Mavromateon Streets, three-minute walk either from the Victoria station of the Pireas-Kifissia Metro line, or from the National Archaeological Museum. The bus passes also near Syntagma Square; the stop is on Philellinon Street, about in front of the Russian Orthodox Church (but the opposit side of the street). The one-way ticket costs €4.60 (in August 2005), that you pay in the bus. As the bus terminates in front of the Sounio archaeological site, you cannot miss your destination. The entrance fee is €4 (Summer 2009), with reduction for over 65 and non-EU students, free for under 18 and EU-students, and free entrance on Sundays between 1 November to 31 March (this information is based on the data collected in August 2005).
You can get more up-to-date info from KTEL Attikis website, but currently it is only in Greek.

The site was the acropolis of ancient Sounion. It is not clear where was the main settlement, although traces of some houses were found inside the fortification wall of the acropolis. The ancient Sounion was known to be quite rich and must have had the silver mine of Laurion and the marble quarry of Aglireza inside its territory.

Already in the seventh century BCE there are signs of religious activity at this site, and in the early sixth century some huge kouroi statues were dedicated. One of these is now exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

The attribution of the temple to Poseidon is proved by an inscription found at site. The temple is supposed to be built around 444 BCE. Because of some similarities to the Hephaisteion (Theseion) in the Athenian Agora, the architect is supposed to be the same person. The construction was preceded by another phase started around 490 BCE, but it must have been interrupted. The poros stone foundation of the temple belongs to this preceding phase.

The temple is Doric peristyle, and stylobate (the top of the base structure on which the columns stand) is 31.1 by 13.4 metres. Originally there were 34 columns, of which 15 are still standing. The flutes of column are 16, fewer than usual 20.

The sculptures found in and around Sounio are not in exhibited in Sounio. Some of the temple frieze are housed in the Lavrio Museum, and a colossal kouros from the sanctuary is exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Near the site there is also a sanctuary of Athena (free entrance).

View from Cafeteria in Sounio

View from Cafeteria in Sounio

Near the Sounio site, there is one restaurant-cafe-souvenir shop. A bit further there is another shop selling souvenirs and drinks, but it was closed when we visited there in August. The price of the restaurant-cafeteria is a bit high (frappé: €3.80, coca cola: €2.80, ravani cake: €3.80 in 2005), but considering it has a view of the sea and of the temple (as in the photo), the service is decent, and the toilet is clean, the price is not unjustified. If you want to buy guidebooks of Sounio, you’d better buy at the ticket office of the site, because the shop here charges more for the same books.

Reference

  • Robin Barber, Greece (Blue Guide), London- N.Y. 2001 (Revised reprint of the 6th edition of 1995), p. 143.
  • Christopher Mee and Antony Spawfort, Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide Oxford/ Oxford University Press 2001, 96-100.
  • Robin Barber, City Guide: Athens, London/ A&C Black 2002, pp. 252-56.

INDEX of SOUNIO SECTION

Sounio
Temple of Poseidon
Stoa, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Fortification, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Propylon, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Sanctuary of Athena Sounias
Beaches

Aigosthena (Porto Germeno)

Aigosthena (Porto Germeno) is a small resort facing the eastern Corinthian Gulf. There is an archaeological site dating back to the late Classic/ early Hellenistic and the Byzantine periods.

Fortress of Aigosthena

Fortress of Aigosthena

Aigosthena is scarcely documented in ancient literature. Consequently the datation of the fortification should be based on the architectural style and the historical background. According to the information board on site, the most probable theory is that the Athenians and the Megarans constracted it in 343BC, when they made an alliance to prepare for the threat from the Thebans.

Towenr, Fortress of Aigosthena

Towenr, Fortress of Aigosthena

The acropolis was on the hilltop and the fortification wall is best preserved there. The wall actually continues to the sea so that also the port can be protected by it.

The tower of the south corner of the acropolis (in the photo below) is the best preserved.

Tower, Fortification of Aigosthena

Tower, Fortification of Aigosthena

The same tower from close. Built in square plan of 8.8 x 8.8 meters and about 18 m high.

Tower, Fortress of Aigosthena

Tower, Fortress of Aigosthena

A back gate of the eastern part of the Acropolis fortification.

Back Gate of the Fortification, Aigosthena

Back Gate of the Fortification, Aigosthena

It must have been used to make sortie as well.

An extension of the wall reaching to the sea.

Fortification wall, Aigosthena

Fortification wall, Aigosthena

 

Reference

  • Christopher Mee & Antony Spawforth, Greece. An Oxford Archaeological Guide. Oxford/ OUP, 2001, p. 133-136.
  • Information Board in the site

Alsos Dexamenis, Nikaia

Alsos Dexamenis is a hill in Nikaia, in the western suburb of Athens.

Alsos Dexamenis, Nikaia

Alsos Dexamenis, Nikaia

It commands a view toward Faliro and Piraeus.

Alsos Dexamenis, Nikaia

Alsos Dexamenis, Nikaia

There is a cafe on top and you can enjoy coffee and other drinks.

Alsos Dexamenis, Nikaia

Alsos Dexamenis, Nikaia

It is like a hill park. It is not for trekking, but for a walk or dog walking.

It is possible to come to the top by car. However, the road of access (Odos Akropoleos) is one way and you need to come around from north west.

Lofos Haidariou (Profiti Ilia), Athens

Haidari is a quarter in the north western part of Athens.

Just before arriving Aigaleo Mountain, there is a hill called “Profiti Ilia”, or Lofos Haidariou.

On top of the hill, there is a cafe restaurant and you can enjoy coffee or meal while looking down Athens and Piraeus.

View from Haidari Hill

View from Haidari Hill

View from Haidari Hill

View from Haidari Hill

 

And of course there is a church dedicated to Profet Elijah (Profitis Ilias).