Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 5, 2016

It’s all Greek to me

One of the highlights of our Sicily trip was our visit to the Greek ruins just outside Agrigento. The site is called the Valley of the Temples. We were not sure we were heading in the right direction, but soon a temple loomed in front of us from its lofty position above the plain…it is on a ridge, not in a valley after all.

Agrigento

The site is well managed. There is an enormous car park at one end, beside the ticket office. From here it is possible to take a taxi to the upper end of of the site. If you enter through the car park end, small vehicles like golf buggies will take you through the site to the end. It is 2 kilometres long and on a hot day walking both ways can be a bit much. We chose the taxi option. The entry fee was €10 and the taxi about €8.

The first temple we came upon was the Giunone, built between 450 and 440BC.

Agrigento

Agrigento

This is the highest part of the ridge and offers great views of the site and the city of Agrigento in the distance.

Agrigento

What a pity these ancient olive trees can’t speak and tell us of what went on over the years.

Agrigento

Part of the 12 kilometre wall that surrounded the Ancient Greek site remains.

Agrigento

Agrigento

You can get up close to see how it was constructed.

Agrigento

There are cavities in the rock face with curved upper surfaces. These are tombs called arcosolia  and were built between the 4th and 7th centuries AD.

Agrigento

Agrigento

Agrigento

Excellent sculptures have been recovered on the site. This one is a togati statue uncovered in the excavation of 2005.

Agrigento

Naturally there is a cafe for lunch or a snack…this is Italy.

Agrigento

A little further on is the Doric Temple of Concordia built between 440BC and 430BC. It is well preserved thanks to a  much later modification when it was covered with white stucco.

Agrigento

Agrigento

When we were there Igor Mitoraj’s sculpture Ikaro Caduto (2011) was resting comfortably in front of the temple. It seemed appropriate. I have seen Ikarus in Pietrasanta…he gets around.

Agrigento

In 1921 Sir Anthony Hardcastle, a captain in the British army, built a villa on the site and lived there until his death in 1933. He financed many of the excavations.

Thanks to him 8 columns if the Temple of Hercules were re erected and many ancient monuments were discovered. I can’t imagine that anyone would be allowed to build a house nowdays, but at least he did good things. His bust sits in the courtyard in front of his house.

Agrigento

Next stop on our wandering was the Temple of Hercules.

Agrigento

Agrigento

Agrigento

The nearby Temple of Zeus has been reduced to a pile of rocks, which is a pity as it was the largest Doric Temple in the western world. It was built from local calarenite stone probably between 488 and 472BC. The stone has been looted for centuries. In the 18th century it was used as a stone quarry for the construction of the dock of Empedode (1749-1763)…criminal really.

Agrigento

Agrigento

The next area we visited was the Sanctuary of Chthonic Deities and the Temple of the Dioskouroi. Demeter and Persephone, mother and daughter team, were the patrons of fertility.

Agrigento

Agrigento

Agrigento

Agrigento

We wandered in the warm, spring Sicilian sun for several hours being amazed and awed by these incredible ruins. The site is well managed and kept in excellent condition.

Huge numbers of people descend on the ruins every day, but the area is vast and certainly didn’t seem too crowded the day we were there.

Agrigento

Don’t miss the Greek ruins at Agrigento!


Responses

  1. I have always wondered why so many ancient statues are minus their heads?

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    • Perhaps they were the easiest bits to break off and steal

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  2. An excellent account of a place we visited in december 2011.

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    • Thank you. It was a great place to visit.

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  3. From Campania to Sicily, the Magna Graecia is a real treasure. We visited Paestum a couple of years ago and it is also a wonderful place.

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    • I haven’t been to Paestrum, but I have heard lots of good things about it…one day.

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  4. Very nice photos of a place I’d like to visit! 🙂 There was a very good exhibition in the British Museum about Sicily recently which was about – partially – the Greeks in Sicily and mentioned the temples near Agrigento and it really made me want to go and see it for myself.

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    • Sicily has some wonderful things to see. I hope you make it one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, that looks amazing! I must go there. (I keep saying that, so one of these days I’m going to have to make it there.)

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    • There is much to see in Sicily. I hope you get there.

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  6. I’ve never been to Sicily but your photos certainly do make it enticing.

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    • We enjoyed our trip around Sicily. We will return to see some of the things we missed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful photos of these spectacular monuments. I’ve visited them a couple of times and they’re also quite evocative in the evening with lights.

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    • We didn’t stay the night in the area, but it must look beautiful.

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  8. Those photos came out great. Was there any security around the ruins, or were the people free to roam around?

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    • The temples were fenced, but a few people did jump over the barriers and climb into the temples, which I thought was unacceptable. Security was’t obvious.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s awful. I dont understand why people cant respect the history and splendor from a distance.

        Thanks for responding.

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  9. Thanks for the beautiful photos! Happy Wednesday ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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  10. Looks very beautiful!

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    • The area is well maintained and a pleasure to visit.

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  11. What an amazing site and thanks for sharing this with us Debra! Yes imagine if the olive trees could talk!

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  12. I love the two pictures of the gnarly olive trees, they are wonderful.

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  13. […] ruins in Sicily make the trip worthwhile all by themselves. We visited Agrigento, Segesta and some amazing Roman mosaics I haven’t written about […]

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  14. […] чрез Всичко е гръцки за мен – Бани ди Лука и Отвъд […]

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