A spectacular drone video showcasing the Temple of Poseidon captures the glory of the ancient monument situated at the southern tip of Attica, on Cape Sounio.
The temple is one of the major monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. Located in a stunning position atop the headland, it is surrounded on three sides by the sea.
Just a short bus ride away from the center of Athens, Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon are a great choice for a quick day trip from the Greek capital.
Temple of Poseidon at Sounio constructed atop ruins of older temple
It was constructed in 444–440 BC, during the ascendancy of the Athenian statesman Pericles, who also rebuilt the Parthenon in Athens.
Perched above the sea at a height of almost 60 meters (200 feet), the arrestingly beautiful structure was built on the ruins of an earlier temple dating back to the Archaic period.
Before the current temple was built, there was a much earlier Archaic temple, also dedicated to Poseidon, at the site.
Although there is evidence of its destruction at the site, it is unclear who razed the Archaic temple at Sounio.
Many believe that, as it was determined that the temple was destroyed around 480 BC, Persian troops under the leader Xerxes must have demolished it.
While there is no direct evidence to bolster the claim, tragically, the Persian troops did destroy a number of temples and monuments around Greece during the war, including all of the archaic structures on the Acropolis in Athens.
The design of the temple is a typical hexastyle, which means that the front portico has six columns.
The site would have contained colossal depiction of Poseidon
Only some of the original columns of the Sounion temple stand today, but when intact it would have closely resembled the contemporary and well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus beneath the Acropolis, which may have been designed by the same architect.
Although it is now lost, a massive bronze statue of the god Poseidon, possibly measuring 6 meters, or 20 feet, tall, would have stood within the temple at Sounio.
As with all Greek temples, the Poseidon building was rectangular, with a colonnade on all four sides. The total number of original columns was 36: fifteen columns still stand today.
The columns are of the Doric Order and were made of huge blocks of locally-quarried white marble.
On one of the columns, visitors can still make out the scratchings of famed Philhellene and Romantic poet Lord Byron, who etched his name into the marble. Byron was not the only person to leave his mark on the site.
Since antiquity, visitors to the beautiful temple have felt the urge to mark their presence by scratching their names into the marble blocks. Now, however, visitors are restricted from getting to close to the stunning temple.
The earliest excavations and studies of the beautiful site were made in 1797 by British noblemen.