The monumentalization of Akragas

The Akragas building sites

Temples were considered the houses of the gods and so stood out from all other buildings for their size, choice of precious materials and rich ornaments. These monumental structures were built by specialised teams that would even take decades to complete the most majestic temples.
In Akragas, all monuments were built in calcarenite a stone from the numerous quarries around the city. In order to extract the blocks, the rock was slowly cut to form furrows into which wood was then inserted. When wet, the wood swelled until the stone broke.
To transport the blocks, highly ingenious machines were used that made it possible to roll them directly on the ground, pulled by people or animals.
Once at the building site, the blocks had to be lifted, so the ancients invented the ancestors of today’s cranes. These machines consisted of two long wooden beams fixed to the ground on one side, and joined together on the other.
I cantieri di Akragas Here, on the top, there were pulleys that used ropes to lift even the heaviest blocks.
Once the temple had been erected, decorations and natural colours were used.
On the pediment , the triglyphs were coloured blue and alternated with red metopes .
The pediment was also decorated on the top and sides with monumental palmettes, while the roof, made with painted terracotta tiles, increased the temple’s rich liveliness.
The buildings generally faced towards where the sun rose, and inside the cella (shrine), accessible only to the priests and priestesses, there was a statue of the deity in whose honour the buildings were erected.

The most beautiful city of mortals

Phalaris, the terrible tyrant

Sacrifices for the goddesses that made the fields fertile

The lively decorations of the temple

A monument for the victory over Carthage: the Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Asclepius

The Temple of Concordia

The Temple of Hera Lacinia

Reinforcement of natural ramparts

The Twelve Labours of Heracles

The Kolymbetra Garden

The walls of Akragas in the fifth century BC

The cult of Demeter and Persephone

The Eleusinian mysteries

The Sanctuary of Asclepius: a place of welcome for the sick

From pagan cults to Christian worship: the Church of St. Gregory

The Temple of Heracles

The sanctuary of the chthonic deities

Theron, tyrant of the arts and victories

The Akragas building sites

Vegetation in the Gardens

The Temple of Demeter

Empedocles, the political philosopher

Akragas in the beginning