Monday, December 19, 2011

Cape Maleas

The southernmost tip of the eastern finger of the Peloponnese, Cape Maleas has been reknowned since ancient times for its notoriously difficult weather. Homer recounts that Odysseus encountered a treacherous storm as he tried to round Cape Maleas -- and was blown off course for ten years.

This shipping lane connects the northeast Mediterranean to the west. When the Corinth Canal opened, ships could avoid Cape Maleas -- and those that can prefer to do so. However, the Corinth Canal can only accommodate ships less than 21 meters in length, so Cape Maleas still sees a constant stream of shipping traffic.

During World War II, the occupying German forces began building an observation tower high above the Cape. Today it can be visited by hikers.

Many ships perished off of Cape Maleas, and ancient wrecks have been located there.

The old lighthouse, once one of the largest in the Mediterranean, has been recently restored and visitors to Velanidia can hike to the lighthouse along a well-defined trail.