Cape Matapan (Greek: Κάβο Ματαπάς, or Ματαπά in the
Maniot dialect), also named as Cape Tainaron (Greek:
Ακρωτήριον Ταίναρον), or Cape Tenaro, is situated at
the end of the Mani Peninsula, Greece.
Cape Matapan is the
southernmost point of mainland Greece, and the second southernmost
point in mainland Europe. It separates the
Messenian Gulf in the west
Laconian Gulf in the east.
Cape Matapan has been an important place for thousands of years. The
Cape Matapan was the site of the ancient town Tenarus, near
which there was (and still is) a cave that Greek legends claim was the
home of Hades, the god of the dead. The ancient Spartans built several
temples there, dedicated to various gods. On the hill situated above
the cave, lie the remnants of an ancient temple dedicated to the sea
Poseidon (Νεκρομαντεῖον Ποσειδῶνος).
Under the Byzantine Empire, the temple was converted into a Christian
church, and Christian rites are conducted there to this day. Cape
Matapan was once the place where mercenaries waited to be employed.
At Cape Matapan, the Titanic's would-be rescue ship, the SS
Californian, was torpedoed and sunk by German forces on
9 November 1915. In March 1941, a major naval battle, the Battle
of Cape Matapan, occurred off the coast of Cape Matapan, between the
Royal Navy and the Italian Regia Marina, in which the British emerged
victorious in a one-sided encounter. The encounter's main result was
to drastically reduce future Italian naval activity in the Eastern
More recently a lighthouse was constructed, but it is now in disuse.
As the southernmost point of mainland Greece, the cape is on the
migration route of birds headed to Africa.
Battle of Matapan
Battle of Cape Matapan
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cape Matapan.
Images of Cape Matapan
Coordinates: 36°23′06″N 22°28′58″E / 36.38500°N