The mysterious hilltop Palace of Vouni, 3.5 twisty kilometres west of Soli, occupies a most spectacular setting, with views both over the sea and inland to the Tillyrian ridges. Watch for a “Vuni Sarayi” sign pointing right a kilometre or so after the main road veers inland. Along the paved, 800-metre side road, you may notice a few charcoal burners’ pyramids, especially vital since wood-burning bread ovens were banned in the interest of air quality and tree preservation. Vouni’s history is controversial and obscure; even the original name is unknown, the modern one merely meaning “mountain” in Greek. It seems probable that the palace was first built around 480 BC by a pro-Persian king of Marion as an outpost to intimidate pro-Athenian Soli in the wake of a failed revolt; a few decades later another insurrection established a pro-Hellenic dynasty, which redesigned the premises. All sources agree that some time after 400 BC the palace was destroyed by agents unknown upon re-establishment of Persian dominion. The site itself is just partially enclosed, though there are nominal opening hours and a fee charged when the warden is present, in his hut next to the car park at the road’s end. The focus of the palace is a monumental seven-stepped stairway leading down into a courtyard, where a guitar-shaped stele, slotted at the top for a windlass, is propped on end before a deep cistern. This is one of several collection basins on the bluff top, as water supply was a problem – and a priority, as suggested by the sophisticated bathing and drainage facilities of the luxury-loving ruling caste in the northwest corner of the palace. At the centre of the stele is an unfinished carved face, thought to be that of a goddess. The original Persian entry to the royal apartments, along a natural stone ramp at the southwest corner of the precinct, is marked by a metal sign; it was later closed off after the change of rulers and the entry moved to the north side of the central court, the residential quarters subsequently arrayed around this in the Mycenaean style. In the wake of the remodelling, the palace is thought to have grown to 137 rooms on two floors, the upper storey fashioned of mud bricks and thus long vanished. Between the palace and the access road on its north flank is what appears to be a temple with remains of an obvious altar at the centre. On the opposite side of the site, beyond the car park and just below the modern trigonometric point, are the scarcely more articulate traces of a late fifth-century BC Athena temple, all but merging into the exposed rock strata here. Yet it must have been popular and revered in its day, for a large cache of votive offerings was found here.