By: Sissi Alevromageira, 25/7/2022

Southern Suburns History - Sounio-Limni Voulagmenis

Sounio

 

You’re already in the Aegean after reaching this gorgeous cape with the ancient pillars. Sounio is a rocky outcropping in Attica’s southernmost tip. Sounio is what gave the Aegean its name: when the mythical monarch Aegeus, son of Poseidon, saw a ship with black sails sailing from Sounio, he assumed his son Theseus was dead and threw himself into the sea in grief. and was killed at sea Since that time, the sea has been known as the Aegean Sea. As various ancient inscriptions attest, Sounion was also the name of the ancient municipality. The location has been known as Capo Colonne since the 17th century, thanks to the columns that still survive today.

 

Sounio is mentioned for the first time by Homer, who refers to it as the “sacred cape of the Athenians.” However, human presence in the area can be traced back to prehistoric times. Sounio is best known today for the Temple of Poseidon. The sanctity of the place, on the other hand, dates back far further. It appears that as early as the eighth century, the rock that dominated the centre of Attica was dedicated to the worship of the sea god. The construction of a Doric temple, for example, began in the fifth century e.g., but it was destroyed by the Persians before it was completed.

 

The temple we see now was built during the reign of Pericles and has various architectural quirks, such as the lack of an interior colonnade. Important differences can also be found in the sculptural decoration. Unfortunately, the architect who designed it has not been identified.

 

Sounio was a popular tourist site in recent years, with visitors carving their names into the ruins. The most well-known signature is that of George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron, better known as Lord Byron.

 

Sounio, located 65 kilometers from Athens’ center, is a good site for both ancient and environmental tours. The sea is the deep blue of the Aegean, shimmering in the light, and the beaches have golden sand and pebble rocks. Every sunset, dozens of groups and couples come to the temple of Souni to watch the sun’s disk descend into the Aegean Sea, in one of Greece’s most romantic sunsets.

 

The Apollo Zostiras Temple

 

The temple, which was already known from ancient records, was revealed during the 1926-1927 excavation. Pausanias, in reality, skillfully interpreted the moniker “Zoster”: according to the myth, at this point, Leto, pursued by the infuriated Hera, unfastened her belt, believing that the time had come to give birth to the twin gods, children of Zeus.

 

According to excavator K. Kourouniotis, the right epithet of Apollo is “Zostirios” rather than “Zoster,” therefore the term referred to the god’s martial quality: he is Apollo girded with his war weapons. In any case, with the celebration of Zosteria, the annual festival of the Aleaians, during which Attica renewed its rights over the sacred island of Delos, the temple had a reach throughout ancient Attica as well as direct communication with the great sanctuary of Delos.

 

Inside the temple, the pedestals for the three statues of the gods worshiped there, Leto and her two children, remain, as does a marble seat, most likely for the priest.

 

Vouliagmeni Lake

 

It is the secret jewel of Attica’s nature, located in the heart of the Athenian Riviera. You are invited to see a rare worldwide geological phenomenon.

 

The lake is on the National NATURA 2000 list and has been designated as a Site of Special Natural Beauty by the Ministry of Culture.

 

Its composition is unique in the globe. It is a naturally composed saltwater lake. It is a rare geological occurrence. And this is because it has water from the sea, which comes from the rocks, and water from the subterranean spring, which is located in the sheltered cave of the lake and all of this mixes to make Lake Vouliagmeni. Its area is suitable, for someone who wishes to utilize it for physical training, the water is at a very nice temperature (nearly constant) throughout the year, from 21 degrees in winter to 29 degrees in summer. This is due to the warm waters entering into the lake and the variance is due to the mixing with the sea. The thermal activity of its waters is now attributed to the fact that the majority of the water originates from an undersea thermal spring.

 

The lake of Vouliagmeni is the subject of well-known mythology. About a fairy who lives in her caves and traps in her waters the young men who try to locate her. So far, the fairy has caught eight men, a very simple “job” for her given that the tunnels of the lake are extremely intricate, even for skilled divers.

 

Anything to do with fairies and ghouls transporting us to Sounio is irrelevant.

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