The Valley of the Temples in Sicily is the archaeological area characterized by the exceptional state of conservation and a series of important Doric temples of the Hellenistic period. It corresponds to the ancient Akragas, monumental original nucleus of the city of Agrigento. Today is the regional archaeological park.
from 1997 the entire area was included in the World Heritage List drawn up by UNESCO. It is considered a popular tourist destination, besides being the symbol of the city and one of the main of the island. The Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples, with its 1300 ha, It is the largest archaeological site in the world
The birth of the polis Agrigento is linked to the development of the polis Geloan: the city, indeed, It was founded in 581 a.C. by some inhabitants of Gela, originating in the islands Rodi and of Chalk, under the name of Ἀκράγας (Akragas), after the river which flows through the territory. It was one of the main cities of the ancient world, significant city both economically and politically.
The settlement was protected in the sixth century by a defensive system, consisting of a circuit of walls that exploited the topographic characteristics of the place, constituted by the plateau on the left of hills that dominated the coastal area and of which the “valley of the temples” He occupied the southern edge and did not constitute the acropolis, instead located more upstream, at the medieval core of the city.
The military expansionism of Akragas had special impetus at the time of the tyrant Terone (488-473 a.C.) and victory over the Carthaginians. There followed a period of rivalry with Syracuse. The great temples, built in the fifth century, still bear witness to the prosperity of the city.
After the plundering by the Carthaginians, in 406 a.C., He followed a period of decline of the city, which however it was rebuilt. from 262 a.C. Agrigento entered the Roman rule, but it remains a major city. From the seventh century, the city is impoverished and depopulated and the city center was reduced to single hill of the Acropolis, thus being abandoned both the urban area, the temple area.