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Valley of the TemplesBy Anthony Parente
The Valley of the Temples is one of the most important archeological sites in the world and in 1997 it was named a UNESCO World heritage site. The temples are located in Agrigento, which is in the region of Sicily. The city was initially founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC and it quickly became a major cultural center. The doric style temples in the valley were all constructed within a century. Each of the temples face east, which was a standard criteria for both Greek and Roman temples. This was done so that the statue of the god housed in each temple would be illuminated by the rising sun. One can only imagine how beautiful this area was when it was a thriving city and the temples were almost all complete. I am sure it would have been a site to behold.
Of all of the temples in the valley this is the only one to remain relatively intact and it is considered one of the best preserved Doric style temples. It is believed that this temple was constructed around 430 BC, but it is unclear as to which god this temple was erected for. The temple got its name from a Latin inscription found near the temple. The reason the temple remained intact is due in part to it being converted to a Christian church in the 6th century.
This temple was built in the 5th century and it was dedicated to Leda and Zeus's twins. Of the 34 columns used to make this temple only four remain standing. It is these four columns that just so happen to be the most photographed of all the temples and it has become the symbol of Agrigento.
Temple of Zeus (Jupiter)
Temple of Hera Lacinia (Juno)
This was the first temple built in the valley at Agrigento. The construction of this temple was completed during the later part of the 6th century BC. It was originally built with 38 columns, but today only 8 remain standing. The temple was dedicated to the legendary Hercules, who is the national hero of Sicily and in particular the city of Agrigento.
Temple of Asclepius (Esculapius)
Temple of Hephaistos (Vulcan)
Temple of Demeter
Tomb of Theron
If you are in Sicily and happen to be in the vicinity of Agrigento make sure to take some time and visit this amazing site. It is best viewed during the morning when the sun rises and illuminates the area.
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