The Valley of the Temples

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The Valley of the Temples The Valle dei Templi (English: Valley of the Temples, Sicilian: Vaddi di li Tempri) is an archaeological site in Agrigento (ancient Greek Akragas), Sicily, southern Italy. 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 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 term "valley" is a misnomer, the site being located on a ridge outside the town of Agrigento.
The Valley includes remains of seven temples, all in Doric style. The identification of the names, apart that of the Olympeion, are a mere tradition established in the Renaissance times. The temples are:
Temple of Juno (Hera Lacinia), built in the 5th century BC and burnt in 406 BC by the Carthaginians. It was usually used for the celebration of weddings.
Temple of Concordia, whose names stems from a Latin inscription found nearby, and which was also built in the 5th century BC. Turned into a church in the 6th century AD, it is now one of the best preserved in the Valley.
Temple of Heracles (Hercules), who was one of the most venerated deities in the ancient Akragas. It is the most ancient in the Valley: destroyed by an earthquake, it consists today of only eight columns.
Temple of Zeus Olympic (Jupiter), built in 480 BC to celebrate the city-state's victory over Carthage. It is characterized by the use of large size atlases.
Temple of Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux ) Despite that its remains include only four columns, it is now the symbol of modern Agrigento.
• Temple of Vulcan, also dating from the 5th century BC. It is thought to have been one of the most imposing constructions in the valley; it is now however one of the most damaged by the years and natural phenomena.
• Temple of Athena. Built far from the valley itself. It is located in the historic city of Agrigento. On the basis of the temple now stands the medieval church of Santa Maria dei Greci.
Temple of Asclepius, located far from the ancient town's walls; it was the goal of pilgrimage for people seeking to heal from illness.
• Temple of Demeter and rock sanctuaries of Demeter (Church of San Biagio). The temple is located in the eastern part of the city, on the side of a slope which ends with the Rock of Athena in the river valley Akragas. From the terrace of the temple of Demeter, through a staircase built into the rocks, you reach the sanctuary below completely carved into the hill.
• Temple of Isis. It is located within the museum complex of San Nicola.
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 celebrate the Roman victims in the Second Punic War.