Guided visit to the Valley of Temples

Overview

Open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 7 pm.

Cashier closes thirty minutes before the site closure.

Reserved tickets must be picked up showing the confirmation voucher at the bookshop placed at Piazzale Hardcastle..

Guided visits:
Languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese
Maximum number of personsi: 40
Duration: 1 hour and a half
Meeting with the guide: cafeteria of the Museum

ATTENTION: the cost of the guide must be paid in loco.

Cancellation policy: cancellations must be made at least 1 working day before the visit to get the refund of the unused tickets minus the service fee; further cancellations and no shows are not refundable.

Guided visit of the Valley of Temples

Stretched out along a ridge, inappropriately referred to as "valley", and nestling in the area to the south of it, are a series of temples which were all erected in the course of a century (5C BC), as if to testify to the prosperity of the city at that time. Having been set ablaze by the Carthaginians in 406 BC, the buildings were restored by the Romans (1C BC) respecting their original Doric style. Their subsequent state of disrepair has been put down either to seismic activity or the destructive fury of the Christians backed by an edict of the Emperor of the Eastern Empire, Theodosius (4C). The only one to survive intact is the Temple of Concord which, in the 6C, was converted into a Christian church. During the Middle Ages, masonry was removed to help construct other buildings, in particular, the Temple of Zeus, known locally as the Giant’s Quarry, provided material for the church of San Nicola and the 18C part of the jetty at Porto Empedocle.

All the buildings face east, respecting the Classical criterion (both Greek and Roman) that the entrance to the cella (Holy of Holies) where the statue of the god was housed could be illuminated by the rays of the rising sun, the source and blood of life.

On the whole, the temples are Doric and conform to the hexastyle format (that is with six columns at the front), the exception being the Temple of Zeus, which had seven engaged columns articulating the wall that encloses the building. Built of limestone tufa, the temples provide a particularly impressive sight at dawn, and even more so at sunset when they are turned a warm shade of gold.

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