The Valley of the temples, Agrigento, Sicily

I have made a slideshow of the excavated ancient Greek City of Akragas in the Province of Agrigento, Sicily. Nowadays it is called the Valley of the Temples, even though it is not in a valley. Founded as a Greek colony in the 7th century B.C., Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean world.

The music jumps in a few places. I could have tried to work out why and correct it, but I had already spent too long on it. I started working on it in 1993, if I remember correctly.

Akragas was home to the ancient Greek scientist Empedocles. He was an expert in medicine and managed to prevent several potentially devastating epidemics. (Epidemic is derived from a Greek word, by the way, meaning “throughout the population.”)

When Akragas was threatened with severe malaria, Empedocles had the population dig out a valley between the two main hills where the city stood. Remember that they had no machinery and basically had to move a whole mountain with no more than men holding shovels. This successfully lured away the mosquitoes to the swampy depths. You can still see some stone drainage channels carrying channels of rainwater from the mountains steeply away, ensuring it would not lie stagnant enough to allow mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

In the 19th century this section of land was filled in again, to make the site more convenient to walk around.

The site is now a UNESCO World heritage site. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under today’s fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas throw light on the later Hellenistic and Roman town and the burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants.

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If you decide to visit The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, or want to find out how you can experience that ancient culture anywhere in modern Sicily, the page you need is Ancient History things to do on holidays in Sicily.

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4 thoughts on “The Valley of the temples, Agrigento, Sicily

  1. Thanks for sending it along. Stopped there for a day Sept. 2005. Beautiful historical site. Also, arrived in Sicily via overnight cruise from Naples to Palermo, then on to the salt flats of Trapani, Marsala, Agrigento, Piazza Amarina, Toramina and Etna, which was like being on the moon. Great trip. My wife and I hope to get back there one more time. Tony & Ellen DiLaura P.S. Heading to Italy next month. This time to start in Milan, Como, Venice, Pisa, Montecatini, Sorrento, Amalfi and Rome. For my wife and me, Italy has been the most beautiful of the countries we have seen in our European travels.

    From an iPad 2

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  2. Carissima Veronica,
    TU SEI FANTASTICA !
    I was wondering why you chose the most famous NEAPOLITAN
    SONG in the world as background for your “Temple” slide show.
    There are so very many Sicilian folk songs you could have used ~
    “abia nu scicareddy” etc. grazie ~ alba

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    1. Grazie!
      I did want to use a Sicilian song actually, but the only ones I know are really funny and I wanted something grand and noble sounding!!!! And Neapolitan songs are so popular in Sicily, I actualy hear them more than Sicilian songs, if I’m honest.
      Anyway I’m glad you liked it! 🙂
      If I ever find myself with about 3,000 hours spare time to do another one, I’ll use that song you suggested!

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