A special place in Sicily. 2500 years ago was the greatest city in the ancient Mediterranean world, and is still in excellent condition today. The collection of Doric temples is one of the most extraordinary monuments of greek art and culture.
The greek name of the city was Akragas, used until the time of Romans.
The initial Akragass was a satellite place of Gela colony, but in one century passed the mother city. Akragas was founded in 581 BC and the 5th century BC was the highest level of the city. In 480 BC, the most powerful greek coalition from the history, formed by Akragas, Syracusa and Gela, defeted Chartaginian army, at the Battle of Himera. The revenge of Carthage come in 406 BC, when Akragas was sacked, and the fortification raised to the ground. When the romans conquered Sicily, Agrigento was the last point of resistance (210 BC).
I traveled to Agrigento, from Catania, taking a SAIS bus, for only 20 euro return. After three hours of crossing Sicily, i arrived in the old city of Agrigento (the Sicilian name). From the
center of the city I had only to take a local bus to the Valley of the Temples.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus
The first place visited on Valley of the Temples, was the Temple of Zeus, the largest Doric temple ever constructed. What made the building unique was the use of colossal stone giants, knows as Telamons, wich reached the height of 7,65 m. The construction of the temple begun around 480 BC but the worked stopped in 406, when the Carthaginians destroyed the city. The temple was never finished.
These strange giants represent Atlas (or Telamon), condemned by Zeus, to sustained the weight of the heaven on his shoulder, because the revolt against the Olympic order.
The Temple of Dioscuri
Is the temple of the twins: Castor and Pollux. The first three columns was rebuilt in 1836, and the fourth was raised in 1852. Now is the symbol of the city Agrigento.
The Temple of Concord (Concordia)
Crossing the rod you enter in the eastern part of the museum. And after a walk on the paved road I can see the most beautiful temple from Agrigento.
This structure is one of the best preserved temples of the Hellenic world. But this is because the ancient temple was transformed in a church in 596 AD, by Pope Gregorius (Saint Peter and Paul). The temple has a colonnade of 6 x 13 columns and it is dated from 440 BC.
Temple of Juno
This temple is on the highest point of the “Valley” of the Temples, on a hill. After walking on some steps, you are on the foot of the columns.
The Juno temple was build between 470 and 450 BC, and was one of the most elegant Doric monuments.
Akragas felt down after the battle of Himera, but never disappeared from the history and the maps. Today you can see the ancient city even after 2500 years of history.
I spent some spectaculars afternoon hours in open air museum, so the light was the best for pictures. I think that one of the best meaning of traveling is to know the history of the places.