Agrigento – The Valley of the Temples

Valle dei Templi, Agrigento, AG, Italia

The Valley of the Temples is a beautiful archaeological area in Agrigento which contains the remains of the ancient city of Akragas immersed in a magnificent agricultural landscape mainly made up of centenary olive and almond trees. This area was declared a “world heritage site” by UNESCO in 1997 and was one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily founded in 582 BC. by settlers from nearby Gela and Rhodes.

The Valley of the Temples includes the remains of ten temples in the Doric order, three sanctuaries, a large concentration of necropolises, hydraulic works, fortifications, part of a Roman Hellenistic quarter built on a Greek plan; two important meeting places: the lower Agora not far from the remains of the temple of Olympian Zeus, and the upper Agora which is located within the museum complex, an Olympian and a Bouleuterion which was the Roman-era council chamber on a Greek plan.

The temples that are located within the archaeological area are the following:

The Temple of Hera Lacinia, or the temple of Juno, was built in the 5th century BC. This was the temple where the wedding was celebrated.
The Temple of Concordia, was also built in the 5th century. It is currently the best preserved, thanks to the fact that it was transformed into a Christian temple in the 6th century AD.
Temple of Heracles, or Temple of Hercules, is one of the oldest buildings but was destroyed by an earthquake and only eight columns remain visible today.
Temple of Olympian Zeus, was built to honour Zeus, this was the largest temple in all of the ancient West and unique in architecture because it is characterized by the presence of telamones, immense sculptures seven and a half meters high, one of these is still found on the site, while another Telamon of Olympeion is located in the archaeological museum of Agrigento.
Temple of the Dioscuri was built in honour of the deities of the earth Demeter, Persephone, and Dionysus and not of the Dioscuri.
Temple of Hephaestus or Temple of Vulcan.
Temple of Athena which was built away from the valley and is located in the historic center of the city of Agrigento.
Temple L, is a building completely destroyed already in the classical era.
Temple of Asclepius, or Temple of Aesculapius, forms part of an extra-urban sanctuary built away from the city walls.
Temple of Demeter which rises in the eastern part of the city from the terrace of the temple, through a staircase carved into the rock, you reach the underlying sanctuary completely excavated inside the hill.
Temple of Isis which is located within the museum complex of San Nicola.

Finally, the Valley of the Temples also houses the tomb of Terone, a pyramidal tuff monument that was built to remember the fall of the Second Punic War.