The birth of Akragas

The Greeks in Sicily and Southern Italy: Magna Graecia

Around the 8th century BC, Greece was experiencing a period of intense expansion, both from a demographic and commercial point of view.
Due to the inhospitable characteristics of the arid and mountainous land of the Greek peninsula, which was not always suitable for founding new cities, many cities began to expand outside the borders of the homeland to found new settlements – the settlements .
In particular, the Greeks sailed towards Southern Italy, and even reached the Ionian coast of Sicily.
The Hellenic people first arrived in Basilicata, where they found fertile and grain-rich land, then pushed on the coasts of the Ionian Gulf, where Reggio, Sibari, Crotone and Taranto emerged.
In Sicily, the east -and south- facing coasts were colonised, as those were closest to the homeland.
Around 734 BC Naxos appeared, followed by Catania, Syracuse, Megara Hyblaea and Gela.
The Greeks’ ability to create a unitary and culturally homogeneous territory of all these cities led to the spread of the Greek term Megàle Ellàs, or Great Greece, to refer to Southern Italy and Sicily.
The homeland also brought great innovations to the colonies: firstly, in terms of culture, the alphabet and use of writing spread, while economically, the use of iron and other yet unknown raw materials was introduced, which boosted craft.
These circumstances allowed the cities of Magna Graecia, proud of their identity and independence, to flourish over the years until they became powers remembered for their great political influence in the Mediterranean Basin.

Phalaris, the terrible tyrant

Theron, tyrant of the arts and victories

The Kolymbetra Garden

The sanctuary of the chthonic deities

The Temple of Demeter

Sacrifices for the goddesses that made the fields fertile

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

The Temple of Hera Lacinia

The walls of Akragas in the fifth century BC

Vegetation in the Gardens

Akragas in the beginning

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

The cult of Demeter and Persephone

The lively decorations of the temple

The Temple of Heracles

Reinforcement of natural ramparts

The Akragas building sites

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

The Temple of Asclepius

The most beautiful city of mortals

The Temple of Concordia

Empedocles, the political philosopher

The Eleusinian mysteries

The Twelve Labours of Heracles