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Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples

Agrigento
Archaeological sites

 

The city of Akragas, defined as the “most beautiful city of those inhabited by man” by the Greek poet Pindar, was founded by colonists from Gela and Rhodes in 580 BC. The settlement sits atop a plateau not far from the coast, sheltered to the north by the hills of Rupe Atenea and Colle di Girgenti, to the south by the so-called Collina dei Templi - hill of the temples, and surrounded by the rivers Akragas and Hypsas. Its port (empórion) is located at the mouth of the two rivers where the fishing village of San Leone is found.
Between the middle of the sixth century and the end of the fifth century BC, the city was the site of feverish construction; indeed, the majority of the remains visible today and the imposing 12-kilometre wall with its nine gateways date to this period. From the tyrannies of Phalaris and Theron through to the arrival of democracy expounded by the philosopher Empedocles, Akragas grew from a small settlement to a large city state with a population of over 200,000 inhabitants.
Destroyed in 406 BC by the Carthaginians, prosperity did not return to the city until the rise of Timoleon in the late third century BC. During the Punic Wars, the Carthaginians defended the settlement against the Romans, who seized control of the city in 210 BC.
During the Roman era, the city - renamed Agrigentum - underwent a period of monumental urban redevelopment as new public buildings - including at least two temples, the theatre and the bouleuterion - were built, with the new constructions centred around the hill of Saint Nicolas, where the town's Museum of Archaeology now stands. The most opulent villas in the nearby Hellenistic-Roman quarter also date to this period. The wealth of Agrigentum's residents most likely relied on the mining, refining and trade of sulphur, as documented by various inscriptions.
In late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, the Valley of the Temples was occupied by a sprawling Christian burial ground that extended both underground and in the open air.
During the Muslim conquests of the Arabs, Berbers, Spanish, Egyptians, Syrians and Persians between 829 and 840 AD, it is believed that the settlers withdrew to Colle di Girgenti (derived from Arabic word Gergent or Kerkent), where the medieval and modern city was later developed.
During this period, the Valley of the Temples was inhabited in a sporadic manner and became the site of agricultural production and craftsmanship, with various ceramic workshops documented by the presence of several kilns. Over the centuries, the old monuments of the ancient city were steadily deprived of their brickwork for use in the construction of the buildings around Girgenti and the ancient harbour of Porto Empedocle.

 

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Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples

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How to reach the site

  • Ticket office of Teatro Ellenistico_Contrada San Nicola – 92100 Agrigento (di fronte al Museo Archeologico Regionale Pietro Griffo)
    Closed from 5 November 2018 to 10 April 2019
  • Ticket office of Tempio di Giunone_Via Panoramica dei Templi Snc - 92100 Agrigento
  • Ticket office of Porta V_Contrada Sant'Anna - via Caduti di Marzabotto- 92100 Agrigento

Services and Accessibility

educational tours for groups
audio guides
bookshop
coffe shop
accessible site

Shuttle service available for internal transport for disabled people

 

 

Info and Reservation

every day 
9.00 – 19.00

+39 0922 1839996

Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples

Agrigento

Coopculture

Get ready for the visit

Didactic tours

Groups
  • Curated by CoopCulture

    Group tours of the Valley of the Temples and the underground itineraries are available in Italian and English.
    The experienced tour guides, archaeologists and educational staff of CoopCulture will take you on a journey of discovery of the unique itineraries and fascinating monuments of the Valley of the Temples, exploring the site's artistic, historic, mythological and archaeological heritage.

    Advance booking essential: call +39 0922 1839996

Audio guides

Language
  • italiano, inglese, francese, spagnolo e tedesco
Duration
Cost
  • € 5

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Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples

Agrigento

Coopculture

Hours

Open

08.30 - 20.00

every day

 

from July 13 to September 15

08.30 - 23.00

Monday to Friday

08.30 - 00.00

Saturday and Sunday

08.30 - 20.00

Garden of the Kolymbethra
Last admission 7.30pm

Ticket Office

The ticket offices close one hour before.

 

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