Archaeological sites in Sicily

The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily, Italy

Villas in Sicily near Agrigento >>

Mandranova, AgrigentoOne of Sicily‚Äôs most famous historical attractions is without a doubt the Valley of the Temples, just outside Agrigento. 
 
This splendid archaeological park consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between about 510 BC and 430 BC: the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestos, the Temple of Demeter, and the Temple of Asclepius (the God of Medicine). Apart from this latter, which is to be found on the banks of the Akragas river, all are situated in the same area on rocky crests south of modern day Agrigento (not really in a Valley at all!).

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Map of the Valley of the Temples | Think Sicily

Modern Agrigento used to be the Greek city of Akragas, a colony of settlers mainly from Rhodes and Crete who, having initially settled in Gela, decided to move west, partly in an attempt to stem the ambitious advances of Selinunte and partly because the land in the area was ideal for cultivating olives, grapes and cereal. The city, supposedly founded in 582 BC, soon became prosperous and, in its glory days, was one of the most important and most culturally-advanced Greek cities in the Mediterranean.

However, as it grew more and more successful, so did its rivalries with other Greek colonies, especially that of Siracusa. In 406 BC Hannibal and the Carthaginians, working in cahoots with Dionysius of Siracusa, laid siege to the city. After holding out for eight months, Akagras finally fell and its citizens were removed to Gela. Later, they were allowed to return but were prohibited from fortifying their town and had to pay taxes to Carthage.

After a relatively peaceful (if undistinguished period), Akagras was thrown into the First Punic War (264 BC) on the side of the Carthaginians and defeated by the Romans in 210 BC.

While not being the prettiest city in Sicily, modern Agrigento is worth a brief visit, if only for the wonderful views of the Valley of the Temples and the sea..

Villas in Sicily near Agrigento >>

 

Good Thinking

For a good lunch after viewing the temples, head for Leon D'Oro" in San Leone, on the coast south of Agrigento

Other Greek archaeological sites in Sicily:

 

 1/10 The Temple of Concordia in Agrigento's Valley of the Temples.  2/10 The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  3/10 Strolling through the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento.  4/10 Remains of the Temple of Hercules in the Valley of the Temples.  5/10 Having fun amongst the ruins of the Valley of the Temples!  6/10 Hot work all this sightseeing!  7/10 The Temple of Concordia is the best preserved temple at Agrigento.  8/10 The captial, architrave and frieze of the Temple of Concordia in Agrigento.  9/10 The statue of Telamon near the Temple of Olympian Zeus.  10/10 The Temple of Castor and Pollux with Agrigento behind.