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Temple of Poseidon at cape Sounion
Contrary to what many people believe, things to see & do in Attica are not restricted to sightseeing tours. The peninsula of Attica has many interesting places to discover, away from the city center. A drive around will bring visitors to secluded beaches, archaeological sites and seaside towns.
The most important place in eastern Attica is Marathon, providing a great chance to visit an interesting archaeological site: the Tymbos (vaulted tomb) of Marathon, where the dead Athenian soldiers from the historical battle with the Persians (490 BC) were buried. Close to the tomb is a small archaeological museum. On the other side of the village is the wonderful Lake of Marathon, which is artificial but perfectly matching with the surrounding environment. A nice beach to take a swim in the region is Schinias.
The southernmost spot of Attica peninsula is Cape Sounion, on top of which a temple of Poseidon was constructed in the 6th century BC. This temple exists till today and many bus tours to Sounion take place from the center of Athens. The most incredible time to visit Cape Sounion is during sunset. Next to Sounion is the port town of Lavrion with an interesting Mineralogical Museum.
A very important sanctuary in the antiquity, but not very famous today, is the Sanctuary of Amphiarion on the northeastern side of Attica, close to the modern village of Oropos. Dating from the 5th century BC, this sanctuary was dedicated to the local hero Amphiaraos and pilgrims would go to ask for oracular responses and healings.
Another important site in southeastern Attica, in the region of Vravrona, is the Temple of Artemis. According to the myth, this is the temple where Iphigenia went as a priestess after her return to Greece from the land of Tauris. A large festival would take place in this temple every four years in ancient times.
Ancient Eleusis (Eleusina) is the most important site on the western side of Attica. From the 17th till the 4th century BC, the Eleusinian Mysteries would take place there in the Temple of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. Next to the ancient site is a small archaeological museum.
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