The Temple of Poseidon and the Archaeological Museum


The Temple of Poseidon

The Temple of Poseidon is an important monument with great significance for Poros island today. The excavations have given a plethora of findings that may change the things we know of the religious life in Greece. Each excavation in the Temple bring new evidence of how the people lived then.

In the area of the Temple of Poseidon, apart from the Shrine there was a whole complex of other auxiliary buildings, which framed the Shrine. These buildings are more well preserved that the Shrine itself, which only remainings of it are left. All of these give to the archaeologists a plethora of information regarding the way the ancient Poriots lived and worshipped the god. So when we regard the "Temple of Poseidon" we mean mainly the auxiliary buildings that have been discovered via the excavations, thanks to the efforts of the archaeological team there.

Early archaeologists who excavated the Temple of Poseidon were the Swedish Samuel Wide and Lennart Kjellberg at the late 19th century. Wide came to Poros island in 1894, bringing with him some workers from the german excavations in Olympia. These excavations showed that at the area were extensive facilities. Later this excavation cancelled and resumed at 1997.

The first excavation season, which lasted from 1997 to 2005 proceeded slowly due to the lack of resources, but the progress which was made was significant. It has been discovered that there was not only one Shrine, but a whole worship building complex with auxiliary building, passages, e.t.c. with a town next to it. This was in accordance with the ancient references showcasing the Temple as the epicenter of a whole religious federation of cities. The new phase of the excavation continues until today.

As is known to the most Poriots, the Temple of Poseidon is not reach in impressive monuments, as we are used to seeing in other Temples of Greece. The Shrine of Poseidon and other buildings it had was used as building materials to construct Churches and Monasteries in Poros island and in Hydra island, a common practise at these years. This we know it because of an eyewitness named Richard Chandler.

Morover, it is wrong to believe that at the site of the Temple of Poseidon there is nothing to see. The findings are not the most impressive, but are important and interesting. From the architectural scope there is a row of building's remainings visible to the visitor. Also the excavation has brought out important building elements, which give more indications as to how the people lived and their place.

The excavation also brought to light a well preserved inscription, an offer from the near town of Arsinoi (today the town is called Palaiokastro) to the god Poseidon. This inscription was the base for two statues, the queen Arsinoi and the king Ptolemaios, which are yet to be found. Close to it were found pieces of an older building. Also there have been found pieces of upright columns, probably six meters in height, offers to the god Poseidon.

Apart from the above important discoveries, there are others about the daily life and gods worship which led by the people of Poros island. At the excavations it is comming to light a plethora of mini objects like hooks, dishes or peaks of spears etc. that depict the life at that time on the island, the people's interests and their food habits. It is known, for example, that some day during the 165 year b.C., a great feast took place at the Temple. In this feast there were probably 150 guests who ate a variety of fish, meat, birds, eggs and sea food. This food variety shows us that maybe the food had been tranfered from other places to Poros island and maybe that the guests brought them with them. The feasts's remainings have been discovered being buried and covered with stones and dirt in a corner of the Temple. Close to this place was a deep water tank. When this water tank opened, during the excavation period of 2004-2005, it gave us the most peculiar findings: dog bones with traces of knife and fire, meaning the dog was cooked and eaten. Also snake bones which had the same fate. Also parts of horses, eggs, fish, frogs. Maybe all these aminal remainings were some kind of a unique ceremony.

At the same time, new technologies today allow for the creation of three-dimensional depictions of ancient buildings. The digital representation gave us the depiction of the so called "building D", which is the impressive wall we see in front of us as we enter the archaeological site. Based on a random finding of the excavations, we are now able to create a digital representation of the Temple of Poseidon as it was in ancient times. It is the first accurate representation based on architectural elements and Poriots will be the first to see, even as a model, the Temple the ancient inhabitants faced.

The Temple of Poseidon in the 20th century.

Apart for the historical information the Temple of Poseidon give us, it is also important for us for the lives of today's inhabitants.

Lets not forget the location has been characterized as an archaeological place recently. Until then this Temple had a long history of use, not always of religious use. One of our primary goals is to study these uses. For example we know that in the Temple area used to live a family of retsina producers, the Makri family. The building constructed by the family have since then been demolished, but there are some remainings until today such the retsina tanks or the fireplace. Also at the Temple area archaeologists have left the olive trees and pine trees as an aesthetic decoration.

The archaeological place remains open all the year around, 24 hours a day. The entrance is free to everyone and free of price. Apart from an archaeological place is also a place for relaxation.

Aris Anagnostopoulos - Southampton University
(Great Britain), special investigator in the "Kalavria" Project

How to come

What we organise for you

At Villa Dolphins, apart from the personal care of your needs and the creation of a warm atmosphere, we also deal with the constant improvement of the services we offer to our guests. We try to combine the best possible accommodation with your enjoyment and outdoors activities for a more "dynamic" holiday.

* Βoat trips around the island so that you can see all the hidden beauty and swimm in small beaches with no access from the road

* Horse riding in the picturesque mountains of Poros island, amongst the nature and the trekking paths.

* Fishing by a traditional fishing boat and a profesional with you to the rich fishing grounds around the rocky shores of the Poros island.

* Bicycling around the island or across on the mainland to visit beautiful places such as the Monastery, Neorio, the Lover's bay, the Russian Shipyard and even the min town of Poros island.

* Day trips to the other islands of the Argosaronic such as Hydra island, Spetses island, Aegina island, Agistri island

* Day trips by rented car or mini bus (with or without a driver) to archeological sites on the mainland such as Ancient Epidaurus, Ancient Corinth, Ancient Mycenae, Ancient Troizina or the Covered Tombs of Magoula etc.



Poros island

The scenic and popular island of Poros is a prime destination for both greek and foreign tourists due to its proximity and easy access to Athens.

Poros is the island of peace, romance and jauntiness. It is overgrown with pine trees which reach the rugged shores or the sandy beaches. The residents of Poros are like all islands, spontaneous, decent and hospitable.