Agrigento was another destination in Sicily, Italy, we loved. The reason? Its name comes from the Greek word “Akragantas,” and all the temples in its archaeological site relate to Greek heroes and deities. It is a Unesco World Heritage site.
We didn’t have the time to visit the city, as the main focus was on the archaeology part and the reason people flock here. The town of Agrigento is beautifully situated at the top of a hill, overlooking all the ancient sites (Valley of the Temples).
Archaeological Site of Agrigento (Akragantas)
The entrance to the “garden” of different sites is from the top of the hill. That is handy as going downhill is preferable on a sunny day with high temperatures. It is best to have a guide with you or do some homework to get familiar with the things you see in the Agrigento valley of temples.
This archaeological park hosts eight temples (built between 510 BC & 430 BC). These are the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Hephaestos, the Temple of Demeter, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Castor, and Pollux, and the Temple of Asclepius.
The Temple of Hera Lacinia
One of the first things you will visit is this Temple, or temple of Juno Lacinia. It is nicely preserved and dominates the area.
The Fortification Walls/Tombs
Walking down the main pathway to more temples and archaeological sites, you will notice the walls that were part of the fortification scheme. These walls had different usage during the ages. They were protection walls, but they shifted to tombs. That is why you can see those rounded small caves inside the walls.
Different tomb settings will also be found during your walk.
The Temple of Concordia
The best-preserved temple in this area is this one. The temple has gone through different changes during the ages. The most recent one is its transformation into a Christian church at some point, where the temple was divided into three rooms (according to a church structure). You will see them if you walk by its side.
The Temple of Hercules
Just before you reach the temple, you will pass from this villa. The villa belonged to a passionate archaeology person.
He bought the villa and did many excavations. He restored the temple to some point since the columns you see were not like that but scattered around in pieces.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus
Few elements from the temple remain, with the statue of a Telamon guard being the most impressive.
The Telamon statues were giant and were used in the temple structure (front side). See the size analogy below. However, this statue of Telamon is not the original but a copy. The original is kept under controlled environmental conditions in the museum.
The Unique Goats
Now that is a unique set of horns. This species is unique and only exists here in Agrigento and is called Girgentana. Its origins are unknown, yet scattered information claims they may come from Afghanistan. It is a protected species, and its principal characteristic is these twisting horns, you see.
Pretty cool things to do and see in Agrigento’s Unesco World Heritage site, right? You will learn a lot about this place, which was part of the historical “Magna Crecia” (means Greater Greece). Check our post for Cefalu too.