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This is the Temple of Hera (some books still call it Juno).
Photo Credit: lovetotravel

The Valley of the Temples

Ten minutes south of downtown Agrigento along Highway SP4
Daytime hours
(+39) 06.49711 (Rome number) 3 hours
June 2015 All year
€10-29 Agrigento Italy
Website Historical Historic Sites
First review
 
I journeyed to Sicily, as it represented a land of many cultures including, among others, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Carthaginians, the Normans, and the Spanish. If you, like me, are interested in temples and open-air theaters and ruins, this is the place to visit. Although I could talk about so many interesting sites such as the third century BC Greek Theater (Teatro Greco) in Taormina, the site of the international film festival or the 5th Century BC Teatro Greco in the archaeological site (Parco Archeologico Della Neapolis) in Syracuse. In this review I will limit myself to sharing my reactions to The Valley of the Temples. This site is large, impressive, and better excavated and recreated than some other sites of Greek ruins in Sicily.

This site is split into two areas and was initially excavated by an Englishman. It is located on the southern side of Sicily. The sixth to fifth century BC constructed Valley of the Temples which encompasses the ancient city of Akragas with its nine visible temple sites suffered destruction at the hands of men (Carthaginians and later the Christians) and by the forces of nature. Yet the preservation of one of the best-known temples (Temple of Concord) occurred because it was later used as a church. The best preserved temples are in the eastern zone. The largest of the temples, which are that of Zeus, is in the western zone. This temple was never completed and lies in ruin. However, copies of the giant sculptured figures of men, known as telamones, used in its construction can be seen at the site. Parts of the site also were used as burial grounds. There are two 700 years old olive trees near the Temple of Concord. North of the temples is an archaeological museum in which artifacts and ceramics from the site are displayed. One should allow at least three hours in order to see this site.

If you are in this general area, you may also wish to consider visiting Selinunte, which is about two hours due west. It was known as Selinos in the 7th century BC and was said to have had over 100,000 residents. Like many Greek outposts, it was built on a promontory between two bodies of water. A subsequent earthquake then further destroyed what the inhabitants, who were forced to relocate in the third century BC, hadn’t ruined. The site has two entrances and one can either travel on an electric car between the two sites or drive to the separate entrances (just be sure to keep your ticket as you leave and re-enter the site. The three Eastern Temple ruins and especially the one identified as Temple E, which was reconstructed in 1958, give one the sense of stunning immediacy. Near the acropolis, which is surrounded by defensive walls, are the other better-signed five temple ruins, one of which is being restored, as this now is a UNESCO site. Temple C is thought to be the oldest temple. The actual city site has not yet been excavated.
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