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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