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Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples)
About Valley of the Temples
Valley of the Temples is an archaeological site in Sicily characterized by the exceptional state of preservation, and a series of important Doric temples of the Hellenistic period. Corresponds to the ancient Akragas, monumental original nucleus of the city of Agrigento.
Since 1997 Valley of the Temples is in the World Heritage List by UNESCO. It is considered a tourist resort, as well as being the symbol of the city and one of the largest on the island. The archaeological park and landscape of the Valley of the Temples contains more of 1850 hectares.
Valley of the Temples is characterized by the remains of ten Temples, three shrines, a large concentration of necropolis (Montelusa, Mose, Pezzino, Roman necropolis and tomb of Theron, Early Christian, Acrosoli, Hydraulic works (Kolymbetra Garden and Ipogei), fortifications, a part of an Hellenic-Roman quarter, two important places of assembly: the Agora bottom (not far from the remains of the Temple of Olympian Zeus) and the upper Agora (which is located inside the museum complex), an Olympeion and one Bouleuterion (boardroom) from the Roman times. The names of the temples and their identifications, except that Olympeion, are presumed to be also speculation humanities, which however remained in common use.
What to see in the Vallei of Temples?
The Temples of the Valley
- Temple of Juno (Tempio di Hera Lacinia), built in the 5th century BC and burnt in 406 BC by the Carthaginians. It was usually used for the celebration of weddings.
- Temple of Concordia, its name comes from a Latin inscription found nearby, and it was also built in the 5th century BC. Turned into a church in the 6th century AD, it is now one of the best preserved in the Valley.
- Temple of Heracles, it was one of the most venerated deities in the ancient Akragas. It is the most ancient in the Valley: destroyed by an earthquake, it consists of today only eight columns.
- Temple of Olympic Zeus, built in 480 BC to celebrate the city-state's victory over Carthage. It was the largest temple in the western ancient world and with its unique architecture. It was characterized by the presence of Telamoni, huge sculptures twenty-five feet high, depictions of Atlas holding up the sky.
- Dioscuri Temple or Temple of Castor and Pollux. In fact, the temple is located inside the sanctuary and it was built in honor of the gods of the earth (Demeter, Persephone, Dionysus) and the Dioscuri. Despite its remains Including only four columns, it is now the symbol of modern Agrigento.
- Efesto Temple or so called Temple of Vulcan is also dating from the 5th century BC. It is thought to have been one of the most imposing constructions in the valley, it is now one of the most eroded however.
- Temple of Asclepius (Asclepio, Esculapio) is located far from the town's ancient walls, it was the goal of pilgrims seeking cures for illness.
- Temple of Athena was built away from the valley of Temples. It is located in the historical center of the city of Agrigento. On the basis of the temple now stands the medieval church of St. Mary of the Greeks.
- Temple of Demeter and Rock Sanctuary of Demeter. The temple is located in the eastern part of the city, on the side of the slope which concludes the Rupe Atenea in the valley of the river Akragas. From the terrace of the temple of Demeter, via a staircase built into the rocks, you reach the sanctuary below completely carved into the hill.
- Temple of Isis (Tempio di Iside). It is located inside the complex of St. Nicholas.
The Valley of Temples is home also to the so-called Tomb of Theron (terone), a large tuff monument of pyramidal shape, scholars assumed it was built to commemorate the Romans killed in the Second Punic War.
How to go to Valley of Temples and Agrigento?
For more information look at How to go to Agrigento.
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Map of Agrigento