Agrigento's main claim to fame is the Valle dei Templi, the Valley of the Temples, where there are quite a few Ancient Greek temples (mostly from the 5th century BC) in various states of preservation. Before I went there, I decided to check out the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Greci. This small church was built by the Byzantines over the remains of an ancient temple, and subsequently renovated by the Normans. I'm glad I decided to do this first, as it was a grueling climb to the top of the city; if I decided to go after having already seen the temples, I probably wouldn't have bothered due to exhaustion.
|There weren't any signs, but I suspect the frescoes are from the 15th-16th century. Just a hunch, though.|
|Remains of the temple|
After this, I tried to go to the Duomo (built in the 11th century), but unfortunately it was closed for renovations. So instead, I made my way towards the temples.
There is also a supposedly excellent archaeological museum near the temples, but because it was Monday the hours were shortened and I couldn't get in. Oh well, the temples were worth it anyway.
This is the temple of Concord, the best preserved in the area. It dates to the 5th century BC, and was converted to a church in the late antique period (much as the Parthenon was). The conversion to a church is the reason for its excellent state of conservation, as it was still in use up until the 18th century. If you'll notice in the second picture, you can see some arches peeking through between the columns; these were added during the conversion process.
This is the temple of Juno (Hera), also from the 5th century BC. As it wasn't a church, it didn't fare quite so well over the centuries.
Temple of Hercules, also from the 5th century.
This is what's left of the temple of Dioscorus, which dates back to the 6th century BC. Probably a little hard to make out, but all of the rubble in the second picture is the drums of columns held up the structure.
Not much left, but this was the temple of Jupiter. It was under construction in the late 5th century, but after the Carthaginians invaded and destroyed the city it was never finished. As the years went on the site was looted for building materials. Also, it's probably hard to tell, but that capital in the second picture is MASSIVE; had this been finished, it would have been one of the largest Greek temples in the world (not just counting those that survive to this day).
Sorry there's not much text in this update; I had a great time today but I don't have a whole lot to explain. This stuff is about 1000 years before the period I work on, and with this sort of thing I feel like you just sort of have to be there. In any event, I hope you enjoy the pictures. Tomorrow, I'll be in Cefalu, and I plan to update again tomorrow evening.