After hunting down every last one of the nine properties listed as part of Palermo, we headed to the south of Sicily to visit the most emblematic World Heritage Site of them all. And what makes a World Heritage Site “the most emblematic of them all” you ask? Why, take a look at our picture here from the
That facade remind you of something? Why, yes. Yes, that is the Temple of Concordia, the temple that formed the template for the UNESCO emblem:
Now if anybody ever asks where the design came from, you know!
The archaeological area of Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples, is on the southern coast of Sicily and covers the vast territory of the ancient polis, from the Rupe Atenea to the acropolis of the original ancient city, as well as to the sacred hill on which stand the main Doric temples and up to the extramural necropolis.
Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BCE, Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean region. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under today’s fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas reveal the late Hellenistic and Roman town and the burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants.
Agrigento has a special place among classical sites in the history of the ancient world because of the way in which its original site, typical of Greek colonial settlements, has been preserved, as well as the substantial remains of a group of buildings from an early period that were not overlain by later structures or converted to suit later tastes and cults…
That’s not the only temple, the site is known as The Valley of the Temples in fact for the number of temples scattered around —
— scattered widely, we might add, so bring water and comfortable shoes! —
— most however are down to columns remaining, although those are dramatic as well:
So if you’re driving along the south coast of Sicily, be sure to reserve time for a stop in Agrigento to see one of the best preserved Doric temples anywhere, the one that is literally the face of UNESCO to the world!