The archaeological and landscape park of the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento covers about 3000 acres (1400 hectars) that is the area where the ancient city of Akragas used to be built and its surroundings.
However the archaeological area covers about 1200 acres (400 hectars) and it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since January 1998.
It was built in about 450 B.C. and it’s the highest temple of the ridge. It stands on the South-East end of the Valley and you can see it easily when you start approaching the Valley no matter which direction you are coming from. Some of its columns were reconstructed in 1789. In front of the temple you can see the best preserved sacrificial altar of Agrigento.
Juno was the Roman name of the Greek goddess Hera. She was both the sister and the wife of Jupiter the master of the gods who was called Zeus by the Greeks. She was the goddess of weddings and of pregnant women. She was the symbol of a jealous wife and a faithful wife. The name of this temple dates back to the 16th century. Actually we don’t know the name of the god or goddess it was dedicated to.
The temple of Concord is one of the best preserved Greek temples of the World. It stands on the Southern end of the Valley between the temple of Juno and the temple of Hercules.
It dates from the second half of the 5th century BC and it was converted into church in the 6th century AD. It’s a major example of classical Doric architecture which still shows perfectly preserved inside rooms and colonnade. It has six by thirteen columns. Its metopes, gable and freeze used to be painted. The present name dates from the 15th cent. Still the name of the divinity it was dedicated to it is not known.
It was built in about 510 B.C. and it’s the oldest monumental temple of Agrigento. It stands on the South end of the Valley next to Gate 4 which is the main entrance to the Valley if you come from any direction except from Agrigento main town. It is the lowest temple of the ridge and it can be easily recognized as it has only 8 column which were reconstructed in 1920s. In front of the temple you can see few remains of the sacrificial altar and an ancient road.
Hercules was the roman name of the Greek demigod Heracles . He was born mortal as he was an illegitimate child of Jupiter who was called Zeus by the Greeks and in order to become immortal he had to pass the famous twelve labours. He was the god of strength and protected warriors. The cult of Heracles was very popular in the whole island.
The name of this temple dates back to the 16th century and it is based on the description of the famous Latin orator Cicero and of the historian Titus Livius. However some experts don’t agree with that and underline that those descriptions don’t correspond to this temple.
Zeus was the Greek name of the roman Jupiter, the master of the gods. This is the biggest Doric temple of the World and it’s unique for its architecture. Only five per cent of the original building can be seen today and you really need a guide if you wish to understand more about it.
When you’ll be in the middle of the temple you will be impressed by the view of the Sleeping Giant. It’s a 7.65 m. tall statue representing Atlas holding up the World on his shoulders. It’s a life size copy of the Telamon which can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Agrigento.
The temple was built in the 5th century B.C. and it started to be destroyed at the end of the same century. In front of the temple you can see the remains of the biggest sacrificial altar of Agrigento.
Castor and Pollux are the roman names of the Greek gods Dioscuri. They were twins and illegitimate children of Jupiter the master of the gods who was called Zeus by the Greeks. It’s very famous as the picture of it can be seen on all guide books of Sicily. However it is not as important as the other temples because its four columns were reconstructed in the 19th century by using the remains of different ancient buildings. The name of this temple dates back to the 16th century. Actually this area was part of the Sanctuary of the Cthonian Divinities where the mystery cult of Demeter, Persephones and Dionysus was carried out.
The Cthonian Divinities where Demeter, Persephones and Dionysus. They were the gods of the Earth and fertility. This was a mistery cult. Demeter and her daughter Kore/Persephones were the most venerated divinities of Agrigento and both inside the city walls and outside the city walls there were other sanctuaries and temples dedicated to them.
This is the area where the so called temple of Castor and Pollux stands today.
It dates from the 5th century BC and it’s close to the temple of Castor and Pollux and to the Kolimbetra. Only two columns are left and they were reconstructed in the 1920s.
Vulcan was the roman name of the Greek god Hephaestus. He was the god of fire and he lived inside Mount Etna. He protected blacksmiths and was the ugliest god but also the luckiest one as he was Venus’ husband. The name of this temple dates back to the 16th century. Actually we don’t know the name of the divinity this temple was dedicate to.