Day 371: Temples of AgrigentoFebruary 20, 2018 in Italy ⋅
Woke up to overcast skies, but at least no rain! The accommodation we'd chosen was actually inside the archaeological park, so we headed out after breakfast and walked to the entrance. The main entrance here is known as the Valley of the Temples, a fairly inaccurate name since it's a bunch of temples stretched out along a ridge line. Normally people start at the top of the ridge and walk down past the temples to the bottom then get a taxi back to the top, but we figured we might as well walk the lot, so started at the bottom.
Most of the temples are from the same era, around 500 BC when the city was founded by Greek settlers. There's ruins of several temples still here, though since most of the records are gone it's not really known what each specific temple was used for.
First up was the Temple of Juno, of which only six columns remained. When I say remained it's a bit of a misnomer, since they were re-erected in the 19th century.
Next up the hill was the largest temple, dedicated to Zeus. This is the only one with surviving contemporary records, so we know for sure who it was dedicated to and why. It covered a huge area, though it was mostly just a pile of rubble sadly. It was distinguished though by a bunch of atlases - or columns in the shape of people (named after the titan Atlas, condemned by Zeus to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders for eternity).
Up next was the Temple of Hercules, though I can't remember why it had that name - it was something added much later. Only a few columns remained of this one, but it had a very dramatic position right next to the edge of the ridge.
Further up the hill was the temple of concordia, so named because there was a Roman-era inscription discovered nearby that spoke about agreements and harmony. This is the best preserved temple on site, and looks in fantastic condition. Apparently this is the temple that inspired the UNESCO logo which I thought was a really cool touch! It also shows a few signs of fire damage from a Carthaginian invasion in 406 BC.
Lastly we came to the top of the ridgeline and the temple of Juno. As we'd been walking the weather had turned extremely nice - warm and sunny which made for an excellent change! We had our picnic lunch in the shadow of the temple and then bought a gelato which the guy stacked up huge! We took in the sight of the temples, reflecting on how Juno and Concordia were essentially twins of each other (though we aren't the first to make that observation).
Unfortunately we were now at the furthest point of the park from our accommodation, so rather than just walk back down the ridge we opted to walk around the perimeter to the museum. But worse luck - because of the road closure the museum was also closed, so we walked the long way round for nothing! Alas.
Home late afternoon and quite tired, but satisfied with the day - I'd really enjoyed the temples in particular. Annoyingly, in addition to this house being very cold, it was also very poorly connected with internet! Extremely slow, so we couldn't get much done online either. Instead I just got on with editing videos. Since my YouTube schedule is still posting videos from Germany, I've been extremely slack and let a huge backlog build up. Time to start clearing things!Read more