High on a rocky hillside overlooking the sea is one of Greece’s most recognizable temples, which pays homage to Poseidon, God of the Sea.
The Temple of Poseidon is set on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Aegean Sea, on the picturesque Saronic Gulf. Gazing at the glittering sea and the 15 remaining Doric columns, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best-loved archeological sites in Greece. One of the columns is inscribed with the autograph of the English poet Lord Byron, adding to the romantic aura.
One of the big attractions at the Temple of Poseidon is the view. You can see all the way to Kea and the Peloponnese islands on a clear day. Snapshots of the sunset from this dramatic hilltop will make even cellphone photographers look good.
Poseidon was second in power to Zeus in Greek mythology. The fishermen and mariners of ancient Greece prayed to this god of the sea fervently. He was frequently portrayed carrying a trident which, when angry, he used to stir up ship-wrecking storms. Those seeking his favor would leave an animal sacrifice and other gifts on the steps of the temple.
The temple of Poseidon was constructed in 444 to 440 B.C. There were 42 white marble columns rising 20 feet (6 meters). The hall of worship housed a towering 20-foot (6-meter) high bronze statue of Poseidon.
The Temple of Poseidon is located in Cape Sounion, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Athens by car. You can also take a local bus, or as part of a guided tour. The temple has a small admission fee and it’s open daily, April through February. Make sure to bring a hat and plenty of sunscreen as there’s no shade.