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Selinunte

The ancient Greek city of Selinunte

Visitors to Sicily can visit Selinunte, an archaeological dig site in the Trapani Province, and view the remains of the Greek town of Selinus, founded in the 7th century B.C., which include some of the most important ancient Greek temples on the island. The archaeological site of Selinunte is one of the largest and most spectacular sites in the Mediterranean.

In ancient times Selinus was one of the most important Poleis in Sicily and a very rich city due to its fertile soils. The site is formed by five temples centred on an acropolis. The park consists of two parts; the actual city to the south by the sea with the temple ruins A, B, C and D, and a plateau, which is situated further inland, with the temples E, F and G. The town’s original buildings all fell in ruin centuries ago after a massive earthquake, although one of the temples – the Temple of Hera – was rebuilt in the 1950s. This reconstruction was, however, rather controversial.

Most of the ancient artefacts cannot be viewed on site. Instead they are housed in the Archaeological Museum of Palermo. Near the archaeological dig sites is the ancient quarry, Rocche di Cusa, that provided the material used to build the temples, where it is still possible to see the remains of unfinished columns.

Selinunte is located beautifully in the south-western part of Sicily. There is a stunning panoramic view of the sea and two golden beaches. The archaeological park is very large, even bigger than the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, so do not expect to explore everything within an hour. The best way to get around is on foot, but there are electric cars available to visitors who cannot walk that far on foot. You can buy refreshments and souvenirs at the visitor’s centre.