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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Greek Temples in Sicily

The ancient Greek Temple of Hera in Selinunte,...Image via Wikipedia
By Marcello Arrambide

When anyone thinks of Greek temples, Greece automatically comes to mind. Many people don't consider the impact the Greeks had on history and how far their empire spanned throughout time. There are actually Greek temples that still stand today in Egypt, Turkey, and even Sicily. While Greece does hold the record for the most Greek temples the majority of them are in Ruins. Don't be mistaken with the fact that you are still able to see great temples in the city of Athens. There is another place in the world that rivals the quality of Greek Temples in Greece, the island of Sicily.

There are three main sites where you can view the Greek temples in Sicily; Selinunte, Segesta, and Agrigento. Selinunte and Segesta have been reconstructed while much of the temples at Agrigento are still standing from their original state. Agrigento and Selinunte are about 2 hours apart on the south coast of the island with Selinunte being in the far Southwest and Agrigento located more towards the center. Segesta is located in the northwest corner of Sicily about an hour from the capital, Palermo.
If you are planning on seeing all the sites keep in mind that there are roughly 3 hours of driving time between them depending on traffic. Selinunte is a Greek complex very similar to Pompei, the only difference is that the majority of Selinunte is in ruins (except the Greek temple). Since this temple is reconstructed the security at the site is minimal and you are able to do almost anything your heart desires. Segesta sites high on a mountainside and has also been reconstructed. There is a bonus as you are able to take a small taxi up to the mountain to get incredible views of the mountainside from the Greek theater that was built decades ago.
In Agrigento you aren't just able to feast your eyes on one temple, the area includes 7 temples that you are able to visit and the area is commonly called the valley of temples. The most popular temple in the calley is Temple of Concordia which has been preserved to almost its original state. Other popular things to do in Sicily include the temple of Juno of Lacinia which partially standing, the ruins of Temple of Heracles, and the remains in Olympeion field. Even though the site is named the valley of the temples it actually sits on a hillside.
The quality of the temples in Sicily rivals the quality of the temples in Greece. The temples only take a day or two to see so make sure you take advantage of all the other. There is so much history that you could spend a month getting to know the roman villas, Arabic inspired cathedrals, or the baroque art. You may also be able to save money travelling to Sicily since it's not a major tourist destination like Greece. Always remember to be safe on your travels!
Marcello Arrambide has been travelling all his life and runs a travel website about saving money while travelling and living overseas. You can find out more about the valley of temples and the world's best travel places at his website.

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