The Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples) is an archaeological site in Agrigento (ancient Greek Akragas), Sicily. It is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy. The area was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1997. Much of the excavation and restoration of the temples was due to the efforts of archaeologist Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta (1783–1863), who was the Duke of Serradifalco from 1809 through 1812. The Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples is the largest archaeological site in the world with 1,300 hectares
The Valley includes remains of seven temples, all in Doric style. The ascription of the names, apart from that of the Olympeion, are a mere tradition established in Renaissance times. The temples are:
Temple of Concordia, whose name comes from a Latin inscription found nearby. It was built in the 5th century BCE. Turned into a church in the 6th century CE, it is now one of the best preserved in the Valley.
Temple of Hera, also built in the 5th century BCE. It was burnt in 406 BCE by the Carthaginians.
Temple of Heracles, who was one of the most venerated deities in the ancient Akragas. It is the most ancient in the Valley, dating back to the end of the 6th century BCE. It was destroyed by an earthquake, it consists today of only eight columns.
Temple of Olympian Zeus, built in 480 BCE to celebrate the city-state's victory over Carthage. It is characterized by the use of large scale atlases. The Temple of Olympian Zeus (or Olympeion; known in Italian as the Tempio di Giove Olimpico) was the largest Doric temple ever constructed, although it was never completed and now lies in ruins.
Temple of the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux. This is in a misleading modern reconstruction from the early 19th century, created using pieces from various other temples. Despite its remains including only four columns, it is now the symbol of modern Agrigento.
Temple of Vulcan, also dating from the 5th century BCE. It is thought to have been one of the most imposing constructions in the valley; it is now however one of the most eroded.
Temple of Asclepius, located far from the ancient town's walls; it was the goal of pilgrims seeking cures for illness.
The Valley is also home to the so-called Tomb of Theron, a large tuff monument of pyramidal shape; scholars suppose it was built to commemorate the Romans killed in the Second Punic War.
Temple of Concordia. (1096k) Temple of Concordia. (593k) Temple of Concordia. (618k) Temple of Concordia. (752k) Temple of Concordia. (654k) Olive tree at the Temple of Concordia. It is 500-600 years old. (840k) Temple of Heracles. (685k) Temple of Heracles. (748k) One of the columns of the Temple of Heracles. (700k) Badly eroded column at the Temple of Heracles. (973k) Eroded capital at the Temple of Heracles. (761k) Column pieces at the Temple of Heracles. (1001k) Temple of Olympian Zeus. (1212k) Altar of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. (1079k) In the Temple of Olympian Zeus. (968k) In the Temple of Olympian Zeus. (986k) Remnants of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. (907k) One of the huge Atlas figures in the Temple of Olympian Zeus. (1060k) Temple of Hera. (578k) Temple of Hera. (931k) Temple of Hera. (621k) Temple of Hera. (744k) Temple of Hera. (688k) Temple of the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux. (881k) Temple of the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux. (905k) Fallen columns next to the Temple of the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux. (695k) Tomb of Theron. (1140k) Early Christian necropolis. (976k) Early Christian necropolis. (837k) Early Christian necropolis. (955k) Remnants of the city wall. (1096k) Marble statue. (1042k)