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Agrigento, Sicily

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Agrigento - Valley of the Temples

The Valley of the Temples  in Agrigento reflects the historic majesty of a city that was once one of the greatest cities in all of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece).    Founded in the 6th century B.C. ( then known as Akragas), the city grew to become an important trading center in an area rich in agriculture and minerals.  Most of the city remains intact underneath today's landscape, but several classic Doric temples and other public buildings  have been excavated and restored. The excavated temples in Agrigento are considered some of the best preserved Greek temples in the world. 

Agrigento's history was marked by strife  Although once a center of power, the city never recovered from being sacked by Carthage in the early 5th century B.C. Also, the city suffered considerable destruction during the  Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage between the second and third centuries B.C.

The temple in the photograph above is the Temple of Concordia and is the best preserved of Agrigento's temples.  It is believed that the building's preservation is due to its being used for Christian services starting around the 6th century A.D. 


The Valley of the Temples seems misnamed, as the string of buildings is oriented along the slope of  a low ridge rather than being situated in a significant valley.  In any event there is much to see here.  Famous temples include the Temple of Heracles (Hercules) below, which is thought to be one of the oldest temples in the complex.


Below (left photo) is the Temple of Castor and Pollux  (the Dioscuri ) and on the right is the Temple of Hera Lacinia, often called the Temple of Juno Lacinia. The temple stills show signs of the destructions the temple by the Carthaginians in the 5th century B.C.  Evidence of the fire set by the invaders can be seen on some of the pillars.




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Click here for a detailed website on the Valley of the Temples provided by the Regional Province of Agrigento.




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