In November 2019, I at last fulfilled my desire to ascend Mt Taygetus, the highest summit in the Peloponnese with a height of 2,404 meters. The journey included a night spent in a tent, on the summit of Profitis Ilias, where a small, dilapidated stone church stands alone.
The route up to Profitis Ilias is short – it takes three hours at most – meaning you can travel up and back down in one day, or spend the night at the refuge which is located at the beginning of the path.
All these years I had been waiting impatiently to see the famous “pyramid” from up close. Indeed, Taygetus’ pyramid-shaped summit has triggered numerous scientific – as well as more far-fetched discussions.
When the sun rises behind Taygetus, it’s shadow is said to form a flawless equilateral triangle on the waters of the Messinian Gulf. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see it as I arrived at night and on the next day, the weather was not in my favor; the clouds were thick and turbulent and the sun never came out.
Still, the experience was unforgettable. The night sky was filled with stars, and down below the illuminated coast of Kalamata stretched out before my eyes. At dawn the next day, I drank my coffee in a plastic cup while enjoying the views of the Laconian and Messinian gulfs, the surrounding summits and the distant mountains of Parnonas and Helmos.
And the quest to see the pyramid’s famed shadow might be a good excuse for me to go back – ideally on July 20, in time for the small annual festival to celebrate the feast day of Prophet Elijah (Profitis Ilias). And if not this year, then there is always the next.
Whatever troubles we humans face down here, the Peloponnese’s pyramid is not going anywhere.