Agrigento, Italy - the Ancient Greek City

Built on a cliff on the south coast of Sicily,Agrigento is an ancient Greek city, which alsocarries the names of Agrigentum, Acragas orAkragas. Being surrounded by two riverscalled the Hypsas and Akragas made iteasier to defend the city in war time.Today, the town is located 230 miles above sealevel on a hill which runs parallel to the Ioniancoast. The remains of the old city still has amedieval structure with steep narrow windingstreets, an extraordinary place to see!A Brief HistoryAgrigento was founded with the name of Akragasby the inhabitants of Gela in the 6th century BC.The city then became a very important centrein Magna Grecia. The spectacular and massiveremains are still visible near the town.In 406 BC, the town was destroyed by Carthage,but rose again. Approximately two centurieslater, the city was under the rule of Rome.After the fall of the Empire, Agrigento wastaken over by the Goths and then the Byzantinesin the 6th century. Under the rule of theByzantines, the city declined.In 829, the Arabs took over, destroyed the city,and rebuilt it on higher ground.Ancient RemainsSeveral ancient remains of the city date back tothe 5th century BC, including the temple ofConcordia (Roman goddess of harmony), thetemple of Zeus (leader of the gods and godof the sky and thunder in Greek mythology),the temple of Heracles (a.k.a. Hercules inRoman mythology). The temple of Concordiais one of the finest structures symbolizingGreek Classicism. The temples were strategicallybuilt on the peak of several hills around thecity, which dominate the valley famed as"Valle dei Templi". In the spring, thisvalley is known for a pleasant scent oforange flowers which are called "zagare"locally.Interesting FactsAgrigento is located in a province along withtwo very important towns known as Licataand Naro. Naro still contains well-preservedcatacombs (also known as caves for burial)where the earliest Christians hid to worship.The poor village near Agrigento called theContrada (defined as Chaos), is where LuigiPirandello was born. He was probably themost famous Italian dramatist. He was alsoa novelist, and won the Nobel Prize forLiterature in 1934.Interesting Places to SeeThe Doric Temples in the Valle dei Templi,which date back to the 6th and 5th centuriesBC, are ancient monuments dedicated to Hercules,Olympian Jupiter, Juno, Castor, Pollux andDemeter. These monuments have been amazinglypreserved and are worth touring. The Tombor Terone, the Oratory of Phalaris, the churchof S. Nicola from the 13th century and also the14th century Duomo are also spectacular sites.Economy of AgrigentoA traditional agriculture of olives, almonds andsheep is the basis of economy for this city, whosepopulation is around 55,000. Tourism is a greatcontributor to the city due to its significantarcheological heritage and the coast nearby.For someone who's interested in learning aboutGreek history and mythology, Agrigento is agreat place to visit. History is preserved forall to see.Written by Candice Pardue
Unione Europea
Repubblica Italiana
Regione Toscana

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