May 12, 2015

1574 ITALY (Sicily) - Temple of Concordia - part of Archaeological Area of Agrigento (UNESCO WHS)

According to tradition, Akragas (now Agrigento) was founded by colonists from Rhodes and Crete coming from the founder colony in SicilyGela, around 580 BC. It grew rapidly, becoming one of the richest and most famous of the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia. It came to prominence under the 6th-century  tyrants Phalaris and Theron, and became a democracy after the overthrow of Thrasydaeus. Sacked by the  Carthaginians in 406 BC, it never fully recovered its former status. Disputed between the Romans and the Carthaginians, it passed from one hand to another until it remained under the rule of the Romans. It became prosperous again, but the decline of the Western Empire and the ascendancy of Christianity led to depopulation and impoverishment of the city.

The Valley of the Temples covers most of the built-up part of the ancient city and its public monuments. It is closed by the ridge running parallel to the sea that was assigned the role of a sacred area in antiquity. The area between the acropolis and the temples was laid out in the early 5th century BC on the traditional Hippodamian grid pattern. The sacred area was created in the second half of the 6th century BC, as shown by the early temples at the western end of the ridge. However, the most impressive remains are those of the temples built during the reign of Theron and after. The archaeological park is the largest in the world, and many structures have been preserved in an exceptionally intact condition.

The so-called Temple of Concordia (Greek: Harmonia), built c.440-430 BC, is the most impressive surviving Doric temple in the Greek world after the Parthenon in Athens. Notably the UNESCO symbol alludes to this temple 6 column facade. It has a peristatis of 6 x 13 columns built over a basement of 39.44 x 16.91 m. The exterior and the interior of the temple were covered by polychrome stucco. The upper frame had gutters with lion-like protomes, while the roof was covered by marble tiles. It has survived to a remarkable degree owing to its having been adapted for use as a church in the 6th century AD. The spaces between the columns were closed, while 12 arched openings were created in the cella. The pagan altar was destroyed and sacristies were carved out in the eastern corners.

About the stamp I wrote here.

Archaeological Area of Agrigento - UNESCO official website
Valle dei Templi - Wikipedia
Temple of Concordia, Agrigento - Wikipedia

Sender: Ana
Sent from Palermo (Sicily / Italy), on 19.09.2014
Photo: Gabriele Croppi

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