Agrigento: Valley of the Temples


We are now in Agrigento, and staying in a hotel overlooking the Greek Temples that drew us to Sicily in the first place.  What a magical place this is, and of course when you drive around the curve towards the water you realize immediately as you look up the temples built in 600 BCE, that they are not in a valley at all, but actually on a small acropolis, like the one we  know in Athens.  It became known as the Valley of the Temples because the city of Agrigento grew up above this point and looks down on the temples.  We can see them from our hotel.

Up until now we have been close to the coast (Sicily is an island after all) and could occasionally see the sea but now we are right at the sea and will be until we leave here at the end of the week.  The water is amazingly blue as it was in Syracuse at the start of our Sicily adventure though the big towns are fairly industrial and there’s an offshore oil platform close to here.  Seeing them always reminds me of how fortunate we are to have people working so hard to keep our coast free of these eyesores.

Now a little history of how the Greeks came to be here in the first place.  This port city was home to 200,000 people in the time of the ancient Greeks if you can imagine that.  They called this colony Akragas, the Romans changed the name to Agrigentum, then Girgenti to the Arabs and now Agrigento.  So you can imagine this has a varied history.   This post will serve as an introduction as there is so much to talk about, that I’ve decided to create multiple posts for the general area and the temples. Each post will include objects from the Archaeological Museum with the works included here more general, the others more specific to things found at specific temple locations.

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