Greek Temples at Agrigento, 4.6.12

We arrived in darkness and saw the temples of Agrigento illuminated on the hillside.  They looked like fake temple cut-outs, but they were the real thing.

I took an elective Ancient Civilizations course in high school, and I still remember my teacher telling the class how amazing the temples at Agrigento are.  “If you want to see Greek ruins, go to Sicily, not Greece.”   Mr. Conry was a bundle of contradictions: A slightly sexist football coach who looked 75 instead of his actual 55, he was well-read and had a passion for history, art, and travel.    And he told a great story.

Thanks, Mr. Conry, for encouraging me.  I took your advice and went to Sicily!

I visited the Hellenistic-Romano Quarter (the remnants of a Roman neighborhood built on top of the original Greek urban plan), the archaeological museum, and 4 of the 5 Greek temple ruins.

Columns in the Roman Quarter

Remnants of Roman Houses

Roman Mosaic

Rhombus Mosaic

Ekklasterion Mosaic

Gecko (The red color may be evidence of fire damage)

Flower among the ruins

Temple of Concordia

Temple of Concordia

Temple of Concordia and 500 year old olive tree

Spring in Agrigento

Temple of Juno

Temple of Juno

Temple of Heracles

Agrigento Wildflowers

Ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Fallen statue from the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Olympian Statue in the Archaeological Museum

View from Temple of Olympian Zeus

After hours in the sun, my mom and Jesse were tired, but I wanted to see the Temple of Olympian Zeus.  Jesse ran back up the hill to retrieve the car while I investigated one last temple.  It was the largest Doric temple ever constructed, although it was never finished.  Now nothing remains but huge piles of rubble.  I still could imagine how glorious it must have looked when it was built.

When Jesse rolled up in the car, I admitted to myself that I was tired, too.  We spent the evening relaxing at the Bed and Breakfast.

Seeing the temples was a fulfillment of a wish I’d had since high school.  It made history seem more real.  I can imagine the Greeks fighting battles to maintain control of Sicily and erecting the temples to express gratitude to the gods for their victories.

My next Greek history landmark?  Someday I hope to see the Parthenon!


Filed under Italy, Sicily, Travel

5 responses to “Greek Temples at Agrigento, 4.6.12

  1. mac

    Oh I love that place.. in front of the Tempio Concordia – one of the best travel memories ever 🙂

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