Sicily Sights



Greek Temple Ruins

Greek Temple Ruins Review

Near the town of Castelvetrano, numerous Greek temple ruins perch on a plateau overlooking an expanse of the Mediterranean at Selinunte (or Selinus). The city was one of the most superb colonies of ancient Greece. Founded in the 7th century BC, Selinunte became the rich and prosperous rival of Segesta, which in 409 BC turned to the Carthaginians for help. The Carthaginians, in turn, sent an army to destroy the city. The temples were demolished, the city was razed, and 16,000 of Selinunte's inhabitants were slaughtered. The remains of Selinunte are in many ways unchanged from the day of its sacking—burn marks still scar the Greek columns, and much of the site still lies in rubble at its exact position of collapse. The original complex held seven temples scattered over two sites separated by a harbor. Of the seven, only one—reconstructed in 1958—is whole. This is a large archaeological site, so you might make use of the private navetta (shuttle) to save a bit of walking. Alternatively, if you have a car, you can visit the first temples close to the ticket office on foot and then drive westward to the farther site. Be prepared to show your ticket at various stages.

Selinunte is named after a local variety of wild parsley (Apium graveolens or petroselinum) that in spring grows in profusion among the ruined columns and overturned capitals. Although there are a few places to stay right around Selinunte, many people see it as an easy—and richly rewarding—stopover along the road to or from Agrigento. It takes only an hour or two to see.

    Contact Information

  • Address: SS115, 13 km (8 miles) southeast of Castelvetrano Selinunte, 91022
  • Phone: 0924/46277
  • Cost: €6
  • Hours: Daily; Apr.–Oct., 9–6, Sun. 9–1; Nov.–Mar., 9–4
  • Location: Selinunte
Updated: 03-02-2013

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