Selinunte is famous for its impressive archaeological park and the ruins, and rightly so. Some of the ruins from the Greek era on Sicily are extremely well preserved. Selinunte has often stood in the shadow of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, but it really deserves just as much recognition. In fact, Selinunte gives you a better complete impression of a Greek town of that era.
Selinunte was colonized by the Greeks in the 7th century BC and enjoys a fantastic location by the sea. The town is dominated by Doric architecture. For more than 200 years the town was one of the most important and progressive Greek towns on Sicily. In fact, at that time it was only Syracuse that could surpass Selinunte. The year 409 AD was a black year for Selinunte as the town was invaded by Carthage. The powerful Carthage exposed the inhabitants of Selinunte to a veritable orgy of violence, and sources report that more than 16,000 civilians were killed out of a population of 25,000. More than 7,000 people were enslaved and the town was almost totally destroyed. It was a brutal end to their golden age. When the Romans during the first Phoenician war drove Carthage out of Sicily, Carthage made a last desperate and successful attempt to flatten the town to the ground before they fled. Today there are still some dramatic ruins left and the temples have been given letters for easier identification. - Temple E: The Hera-temple is well preserved and dates back to approx. 460 BC. - Temple G: The Zeus-temple is in ruins, but some of the columns are still relatively well preserved. - Temple C: The Apollo-temple has also suffered damage, but the row of columns on one of the long sides of the temple still stands proud testifying to its former glory. In addition there are a lot of other interesting ruins, which - with a bit of imagination - can transport you to the Greek glory days on Sicily. Selinunte is well placed in relation to a stay in Sciacca, Marsala, Agrigento and Trapani. A motorway runs more or less the whole way from Palermo and it only takes about 1½ hours.
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