Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Valley Of Temples, 2018

We drove on to Agrigento, on Sicily's southern coast, to visit the Valley of Temples. If you're into Doric temples--and why aren't you?!--Sicily is your main place. Between Selinunte and the Valley of the Temples, and even Segesta, and some other places, there are more Doric temples on Sicily than anywhere else, perhaps more than all others combined. The Greek colonies on Sicily are so old, antedating all of classical Greece...Doric is all they knew. Nothing of the new-fangled Ionic and Corinthian orders. But I digress. And speculate. (Maybe they just really liked Doric.) Anyhow, we visited the Valley of Temples in 2011 and were predictably KO'd, and thus we were not going to miss it on our 2018 tour of the island. Somehow we couldn't find the free over-night parking on site that we had enjoyed in 2011, but we nonetheless discovered that the parking lot of the archaeological park's museum is a sosta, 6E for staying overnight. A much longer walk to the temples than in 2011, but still just fine. And pretty quiet, too. Did I mention that the Valley of Temples is the world's largest  archaeological park and also another of Italy's many World Heritage Sites?
As in 2011, parked in an almond grove

From the museum, the Temple of Concordia

The museum is set in the middle of the ancient city; here, a public meeting
place, the Bouleuterion

Have I mentioned that everything in Sicily is in fierce bloom? The oleanders,
the bouganvillea, the jackaranda, the poppies, especially the big cacti, and others 
all are a sight to see

As at Selinunte, the temples here are so remotely old that no one really knows
what or whom they were temples to; but unlike Selinunte, scholars here have
made conjectures...this, I think, is called the Temple of Castor and Pollux; the
marketing symbol of Agrigento (in the background)

A fluted Doric capital at the Temple of Zeus; this chunk about the size of a
compact car

Among the most interesting things at the Valley of Temples are the fallen
telamon; telamon is the Latin term for the Greek Atlantes (male) or Caryatid
(female), that is, a human-shaped column or pier; those at the Temple of
Zeus, here, are the oldest known

And they are monumental in size, 30-some feet; the Caryatids on the Acropolis
are better known, of course

Little remains of the Temple of Zeus, but it was one of the largest ever built;
Goethe visited in the early 19th century and wrote that each flute in one of
its columns could fully accommodate a man...it would take 22 men [sic],
shoulder to shoulder, to encircle one of these puppies

Remains of the Temple of Hercules

Interpretive signage all over

Approaching the Biggie, the so-called Temple of Concordia

I propose it should be called the Temple of Twosomes...according to some
theories, it was a temple first of Castor and Pollux, then of Eber and Raps
(Punic), and then Peter and Paul (after Eber and Raps had been exorcised,
of course)

The Concordia olive tree; very old; not that old

Looking from Concordia, I mean, The Temple of Twosomes, to the sea, a mile
or two away

A temple too far, Juno; it was hot, we were tired and templed-out; and I and
Google Maps had found a path through the olive and almond groves that
seemed to lead directly back to the museum and Le Duc

In the orchards, some enormous yucca plant-like specimens, 25 feet tall

The path indeed led directly back to the museum; only, as it turned out, it was
on private property, and blocked by this imposing, locked gate; on the right
side there was a bit of an opening, however, the chain-link fencing cut down to
a mere 3 feet or so above the stone wall; somehow, despite the dizziness, I scaled
this and crossed over

And here is Vicki, surveying the situation, commenting on
my path-finding skills and her distrust of Google Maps

And climbing over, artificial knee and all; it's amazing what
70-year-old bodies can do;  the alternative was another couple
miles, backtracking in the hot dry Sicilian sun

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