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Cape Tenaron Lighthouse
Marine Attraction
Cape Tainaro
(Marine Attraction)
LAKONIA, ANATOLIKI MANI, Municipal Division


Cape Tainaro (or Tenaro, or Matapas) is the southernmost point in mainland Europe. We can reach it in 30-45 minutes by following a passable path from the village of Kokkinogeia. The path leads to a stone lighthouse built in 1882 by French engineers.





Cape Tainaro - Mani

Location

Cape Tainaro (or Tenaro, or Matapas) is the southernmost point in mainland Europe. It is unique in terms of both its natural beauty and important archaeological findings. According to ancient Greek mythology, it also the location of the gates of Hades, where Hercules took Cerberus down to the Underworld.

A road takes us to the small village of Kokkinogeia. There we leave our car and take the footpath that will lead us to the Cape Tainaro Lighthouse. On the way we see parts of the ancient settlement of Tainaro. The path is quite passable as far as the slope is concerned, but relatively difficult because of many stones scattered on the ground (so it is a good idea to proceed with care). The lighthouse area is a Natura protected area.

The landscape is beautiful, but completely bare. There is not even one tree, so extra caution is needed under the summer sun. The experience of walking here when it is very windy is truly unique.

Path to Cape Tainaro

After walking 25-40 minutes (depending on our pace), we arrive at the beautiful stone lighthouse that was built by French engineers in 1882 and used for the first time in 1887. Its light has a range of 22 nautical miles. The lighthouse was first renovated in 1930. During the German Occupation, it was not used. In 1950, after its second renovation, it housed three lighthouse keepers. Today the lighthouse is guarded by Navy personnel who can give visitors a tour of the interior.

Cape Tainaro Lighthouse

From the courtyard of the lighthouse, we can admire the Mediterranean Sea and the ships that constantly pass in front of us, bypassing the famous Cape Matapas (or Tainaro).

Cape Tainaro - View of the Sea

History

Around the bay of the village of Kokkinogeia and Cape Tainaro lies part of the ancient settlement of Tainaro (Tainaron, Tenaron, Taenarum). The many cisterns in the ancient settlement seem to have solved the water problem. An important finding in the settlement is a decorative mosaic from a house floor of the Hellenistic period (1st century AD) called the Star of Aria (Astro tis Arias).

Star of Arias

The settlement of the Tainarians included the famous sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon Tainarios. Some people believe it was located on the site of the ruins of the small post-Byzantine church of Asomatos and claim the church was built using materials from the Temple of Poseidon. However, according to current research data, it is not considered likely that the ancient temple held precisely the position of the Christian church.

Church of Asomatos


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