The Valley of Temples

posted on 7th of february, 2009

The Valley of Temples is an archaeological site which dates back to the ancient Greek period.

It is settled near Agrigento, in Sicily – southern Italy. In reality, the term ‘valley’ is a misnomer because the site is situated on a ridge outside Agrigento. The excavation and the restoration of the temples have been done due to the efforts of Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta (1783-1863), an archaelogist who was the Duke of Serradifalco from 1809 through 1812.

This enchanting place is considered one of the most important source of tourism for Sicily and since 1997 the Valley of Temple is in the UNESCO Heritage Site list.
The Valley comprises ruins of seven temples, all in Doric style:
The Temple of Juno
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and the Temple of Concordia were built in the 5th century BC. The first one was used to celebrate weddings but it was burnt in 406 BC by the Carthaginians. The second one was turned into a church in the 6th century AD and it is now one of the best preserved in the Valley. The Temple of Heracles is the most ancient in the Valley and it was destroyed by an earthquake. Unfortunately it consists today of only eight columns likewise the one of Castor and Pollux which includes only four columns. Even so, it is now the symbol of modern Agrigento. Also the Temple of Vulcan is now one of the most damaged by the years and natural phenomena. Usually it is thought to have been one of the most impressive buildings in the valley.
The Temple of Zeus Olympic was built in 480 BC to celebrate the city-state's victory over Carthage and finally, the Temple of Asclepius was the destination of wayfarers looking for healing from illness.
The Valley also includs the so called Tomb of Theron, a large tuff pyramid which was built to celebrate the Roman victims in the Second Punic war.
All the temples turn towards east - a standard criteria for both Greek and Roman temples - so that the statue of the god would be illuminated by the rising sun. We can only imagine how beautiful this valley was when it lived and the temples were all intact.
If you are in Sicily and happen to be close to Agrigento make sure to take some time to visit this charming site.

Comments (7)

Comment by Fanuweb on March 10, 2009

nice place to live...

Comment by Fanuweb on March 10, 2009

nice place to live...

Comment by Milacroft on February 09, 2009

Wonderful place and great images!

Comment by Fanuweb on February 09, 2009

Thanks to all !

Comment by Irisangel on February 07, 2009

Wow, great images!!! Good luck with them and thanks for the history lesson.

Comment by Marilyngould on February 07, 2009

Thank you for taking the time to share the historic information regarding this area. Your photos are wonderful and I have added Sicily to my list of places to visit. Cheers!

Comment by Roberto1977 on February 07, 2009

I'm agree with Melissa! Very nice blog!

Comments (7)

This article has been read 1227 times. 5 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Alfiofer, Fanuweb, Gian Marco Valente.

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