Did you know that the biggest grouping of ancient Greek temples in a small area, one of which is one of the best and most fully preserved Greek temple in the world, doesn’t exist in Greece?
Located in Sicily, the soccer ball shaped island of Italy, is the famous Valley of Temples. Located on a mountaintop in Agrigento, are __ temples and many statues, all connected by a rocky path.
Entrance fee is only €11 euros (European students get a discount with their ID card), to spend the day wandering around the temples and learning the history, stopping off at the cafe for a bite to eat, yelling back at the noisy goats, or sitting and taking in the hot mountain air.
The biggest highlight of this place is the Temple of Concordia, one of the best and most fully preserved Greek temple in the world. It is beautiful and mysterious under the moonlit, under the sunlight or under the red lights. The temple is now roped off, but still makes for some stunning photos opportunities.
The Temple of Heracles, aka Hercules, has only half the columns standing tall. The rest of the pillars have fallen apart surrounding the base of the Temple. This area is also covered with cactus pear plants.
The second biggest temple in the area is the Temple of Juno Lacinia. This temple has all of it’s outer columns still standing, to some degree.
At the far end of the stone path, you find the Temple of the Dioscuri, standing with only 4 pillars left.
There are also giant statues near the temples. By the Temple of Zeus, lays two statues of the Greek God Atlas. These statues were actually some of the columns that held up the Temple of Zeus.
There are open air tombs & catacombs all around the valley that are crumbling away, some being unearthed and some look like little caves. At first, I thought the caves looking one were little houses… well, I guess in a way.
I’ve been here 2 times, once during the day and once at night (as you can tell by the photos)… And I’ll say going at night, in the pitch black, with phones as flashlights leading our way through the creepy rocky ruins was my favourite time! Just be careful not to wander into the roped off area (which doesn’t fully surround the area), cause you’ll learn the hard way that it’s very easy to get lost between the boulders when trying to find a way out… Not that I know by experience or anything… Or do I?
Archeologists recently uncovered a giant amphitheatre at the bottom of the hill. I don’t think you’re able to go and visit it yet, but I’m sure after they finish uncovering and researching you’ll be able to visit it.
I’d totally recommend going here, as an stop on a Sicilian adventure! You can spend a few hours wandering around the mountain, taking in the views and learning a bit of Greek history.
Having visited both Athens and Agrigento, I personally prefer the Temples in Agrigento more. I like that you don’t have to wander the city to seek them out, or pay per temple or ruins you want to visit. I like that these seem more preserved then the ones in Athens. I may also be a bit biased since I’m Sicilian, so for me it’s easy to visit… an afternoon trip while visiting family. But, check out my post about the Temples in Athens and go visit yourself. It’s the only way to know your personal preference.
Check out my video about my time in Sicily exploring the Temples under the moonlight and the Turkish steps.