Cape Sounion Sunset
Attractive beaches surround Athens, being in the center of the Attica Peninsula. This region has developed into a popular holiday destination. There is a selection of lively resort towns, all less than a one-hour drive away from Athens, making Attica the ideal choice for a combined seaside-city vacation. The Apollo Coast starts right in Athens. It begins in Piraeus, the port of Athens, and extends to the southern tip of the Attica Peninsula at Cape Sounion.
Along the Apollo Coast lie the southern suburbs of Athens featuring a string of beaches in Paleo Faliro, Alimos, Glyfada and Voula. Some of the beaches charge an admission fee and provide changing shower facilities, gardens, umbrellas, lounging chairs, water sports, tennis courts and other amenities. In the evening, these suburbs attract diners and partygoers, as they are home to fine restaurants and some of the hottest nightspots of Athens. Right outside the Athens metropolitan area lies the pine-studded beach of Kavouri and the elegant town of Vouliagmeni, renowned for its smart restaurants and deluxe hotels. Very popular to Athenians is the large beach of Varkiza offering several amenities. Further south lies the Lagonissi Peninsula, which is entirely occupied by a deluxe hotel, and the resort towns of Saronida and Anavyssos. Driving along the coastal road of the Attica region with a splendid view of the Saronic Gulf.
|A crowning feature of the tour is Cape Sounion, dominated by the spectacular Temple of Poseidon overlooking the Aegean sea. On the rocky peninsula that projects into the sea at the south-east tip of Attika, the Athenians built sanctuaries to their two most important deities: Poseidon and Athena. The temple of Poseidon, was built on the summit of the rock rises 60m above the sea, and is surrounded by stout walls; two temples to Athena Sounias were erected at a lower level.|
|Standing on ground consecrated in times long gone by are the remains of the sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon on Cape Sounion. The temple, which was built of marble between 444 and 440 BC. on the orders of Pericles probably the work of the same architect who built the Theseum in Athens. It was a Doric building with a peristyle replacing an earlier 6c BC. which had been destroyed in the second Persian War by the Persians in 480 B.C. Abandoned for many years to the ravages of the weather and treasure seekers, it was restored in the 19th C, several columns have been re-erected. It is no exaggeration to state that some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world can be seen from this most striking spot .|
|Ancient Greeks believed that Sounio was the house of Poseidon, the God of the Sea. Today the Greeks still come and pay homepage to the divine nature of the Cape (Akrotirion) words cannot describe it .|
Another beautiful view of the light and slender columns of the Temple of Poseidon. Byron signature is still visible on the wall. The 16 columns of the peristyle, all that remain of the 34 originals which supported the architrave, seem very tall although they are only 6.10m/20ft high. In the bay below were boat -houses, of which some remains can be seen. At the west end of the headland are preserved two ship sheds protected by the fortification wall. They consist of two slipways, deep, long cuttings in the rock, on which rested a wooden structure that protected the bottom of the ships when they were dragged out of the sea. The ships were kept here for use in case of emergency.
The sanctuary of Sounion, with its strong fortress, was directly connected with the metal-bearing region of Lavreotiki. In the mountain at Lavrion (small industrial town and mineral port) are preserved many ancient mining installations, and there are marble quarries in the area of Agrileza, which supplied the material for the temple of Poseidon. Recent excavations by Belgian archaeologists suggest that the mines at Lavrion were already being worked early in 3000 BC. But it was early in the 5th C. BC. that the deposits of silver bearing sulphides began to be systematically exploited bringing wealth and power to Athens.
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