History of Temple of Concordia, Agrigento (with Map & Photos)

Temple of Concordia Agrigento History


It is paradoxical that one of the best places to see excellently preserved examples of Ancient Greek architecture is not in Hellenic lands, but in Italy. Specifically on the island of Sicily, known in antiquity as Magna Graecia and where there were cities as important for trade in the Mediterranean as Acragente, which corresponds to the current city of Agrigento.

Temple of Concordia Agrigento Sicily History
Temple of Concordia Agrigento Sicily History

Part of that old city has been the object of different archaeological excavations that have brought up a multitude of remains of Greek origin. Although it is true, that the same place was later colonized and occupied by the Latin civilization of Rome.

However, of all that has appeared, the most interesting is the so-called Valley of the Temples. An archaeological area with some of the most impressive constructions on the entire island of Sicily.

Among them is the so-called Temple of Concordia, although there are scholars who doubt that it was dedicated to this deity. However, by this name it is known.

Temple of Concordia Agrigento Sicily History
Temple of Concordia Agrigento Sicily History

It is a work built approximately in the middle of the 5th century BC, at a time contemporary to the famous Parthenon in Athens, and also built following the rules and forms of the Doric order. Although, if we talk about the state of conservation, it is clear that the great temple of the Parthenon of the Athenian Acropolis is much worse.

The great secret for this Temple of Concordia to be so well preserved is that it was a building that during the 6th century, already of our Era, was transformed into a Catholic church, so things were changed but it was not abandoned. And even later, in the 18th century, it was restored and brought back to a much more original appearance.

These are the reasons why today we can continue to see its 34 columns and the construction scheme of its Doric fa├žade, based on columns that support an entablature made up of a lower architrave and an upper area in which triglyphs and metopes alternate. And finally, all this supports a large triangular pediment, which is still standing here, although it has lost its predictable sculptural decoration.

Temple of Concordia Agrigento Sicily History
Temple of Concordia Agrigento Sicily History

What has not reached our days is the roof of the temple, but even so it is considered to be the best preserved of all Greek architecture, and it is certainly the best found in Agrigento, although in the neighboring Temple of Hera Lacinia, contemporary to that of Concordia, 25 of its 34 columns are also still standing.

Nonetheless, there are earlier constructions in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. And of all of them, the oldest would be the Temple of Heracles, built in the 6th century BC in a Doric but more archaic style. This is another of the architectural jewels of this archaeological area where there are more like the temples of Castor and Pollux, or that of Olympian Zeus, or the sanctuaries of Demeter and Persephone, and even an early Christian basilica. In short, an area that is an important World Heritage Site according to Unesco.

Temple of Concordia, Agrigento Map