Honeymoon Sicily | Agrigento | Valley Of The Temples
Agrigento, Pindar’s “most beautiful city of mortals” featuring the Doric classic
Valley of the Temples the most captivating of Sicilian Greek remains outside of Greece
In 581 BC settlers from Gela and from Rhodes founded the city of
Akragas between the rivers of Hypsas and Akragas. A mighty wall was constructed for
the cities protection and connected to a natural long ridge which leads to the ancient Acropolis.
On the south side of the city was another ridge and here the city architects
assembled the sacred Valle dei Templi
A meandering path leads to the oldest of Temples, the Tempio di Ercole (Hercules)
established in the last decades of 6th century. Nine of the 38 original columns have
been re-erected everything else is scattered by its side.
In close vicinity is the magnificent Temple della Concordia dated around 430 BC perfectly
conserved and stunningly sited with excellent views of the city and the sea. The area around the Temple of Concordia was
later re-used by early Christians as a catacomb with tombs hewn out of the rocky cliffs and outcrops.
The other temples are much more incomplete having been toppled by earthquakes long ago
and quarried for their stones.
The largest by far is the Temple of Olympian Zeus built to commemorate the Battle of Himera
in 480 BC it is believed to have been the largest Doric temple ever built. Although
it was apparently used, it appears never to have been completed; construction was
abandoned after the Carthaginian invasion of 406 BC.
Many other Hellenistic and Roman sites can be found in and around
the town of Agrigento. These include a pre-Hellenic cave sanctuary
near the Temple of Demeter over which the Church of San Biagio was built.
A late Hellenistic funerary monument erroneously labelled the "Tomb of Theron"
is situated just outside the sacred area and a 1st-century AD heroon (heroic shrine)
adjoins the 13th century Church of San Nicola.
Much of present-day Agrigento is modern but it still retains a number
of medieval and Baroque buildings. These include the 14th century cathedral
and the 13th century Church of Santa Maria dei Greci ("St. Mary of the Greeks"),
again standing on the site of an ancient Greek temple.The town also has a notable
archaeological museum displaying finds from the ancient city.