The birth of Akragas

The first settlement: the foundation of Akragas

More than 2500 years ago, in 580 BC, some rhodium-Cretan settlers living in Gela founded Agrigento on the south-western coast of Sicily.
Aristino and Pistilo, the two commanders of the expedition, identified a prosperous and luxuriant site around 3 km from the sea, which was rich in water and fertile soil, and ideal for a new settlement. In that flourishing territory stood a vast plateau with a steep rocky ridge, surrounded by two rivers.Nature was particularly rich in this place: the mild climate and the flowing waterways made the surrounding land very fertile and suitable for both field cultivation and cattle grazing.
The name of the main river, which flowed east of the plain, was Akragas : the word came from the Greek “karkinos”, meaning “crab”, probably because of the numerous crabs that populated its waters. This river was so important to the ancient city that it was revered almost like a deity. Its tributary was called Hypsas and ran west of the plain, then merged with the Akragas river before they flowed together into the sea.
The sheer proximity to the sea was another strong point for ancient Agrigento: it was far enough away to avoid its dangers, but close enough to benefit from the trade of subsoil products, which the territory was particularly rich in.

The cult of Demeter and Persephone

Akragas in the beginning

The Temple of Concordia

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

The sanctuary of the chthonic deities

Empedocles, the political philosopher

The lively decorations of the temple

The Akragas building sites

The walls of Akragas in the fifth century BC

The Kolymbetra Garden

Sacrifices for the goddesses that made the fields fertile

Phalaris, the terrible tyrant

The Temple of Heracles

The Temple of Hera Lacinia

The Eleusinian mysteries

Vegetation in the Gardens

The most beautiful city of mortals

The Twelve Labours of Heracles

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 Demeter

The Temple of Asclepius

Theron, tyrant of the arts and victories

Reinforcement of natural ramparts