Cape Matapan (also known as Cape Tainaron) is a small mass of land located at the end of the Manai Peninsula in Greece. Diros cave, located on the very tip of the cape, is believed to be the front door to Hades’ abode, his classic Underworld of Greek mythology.
To the Spartans, this area was a place of worship where human sacrifices were slain and dedicated to the Sea-God, Poseidon, whose realm merges with the entrance to Hades’ Underworld. Vast temples to the Gods were erected on the cape. One specifically dedicated to Poseidon was built directly above the gateway to the underworld. The temple may have served as a place to encourage protection by the Sea-God to keep watch over the God of the Underworld’s front door. To ensure the door stays closed, keeping the dead contained within the Underworld.
According to mythology, Diros cave is where Hercules passed into the underworld on one of his adventures. Also, Orpheus entered through this cave to search for his lost lover, Euridice. The cave may also be the most epic “doggie-door” in existence. In the 2nd Century A.D., Greek geographer Pausanias described the site as:
“In the bend of the seaboard one comes, first, to a headland that projects into the sea, Taenarum, with its temple of Poseidon situated in a grove; and secondly, near by, to the cavern through which, according to the myth-writers, Cerberus was brought up from Hades by Herakles.”
Needless to say, the pictures of Diros cave are quite breathtaking and have a surreal sense of something sinister hiding in the vast, dark shadows. I am sure secrets are abound within the earthen walls. The cave has only been superficially explored. A path could exist, hidden deep within the bowels of the cave, that leads into the Underworld.
Check out the beautiful pictures of Diros cave on TripAdvisor.
Have a wonderful time leaf-peeping! Did this cave figure in one of Rick Reardon’s books?
If you see anything sinister, take a photo of it! Otherwise have a good trip and a great holiday!