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Selinunte, an ancient Greek city

The Temple E

In the first days of July of this year, since we set out to see the south-western coast of Sicily, we decided to get in the car to reach a hotel in Marinella di Selinunte. Strategic location for visiting various places, including the Selinunte Archaeological Park.

The Temple E

Temple E
Temple E

The park contains the remains of an ancient Greek city and is the largest in Europe. You realize its grandeur the moment you walk through the ticket office door. Before your eyes, an avenue and, imposing, the first temple, Temple E, probably dedicated to Hera. Unlike the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, there are no barriers that divide the temple from the visitor. Therefore, slowly walking and after several minutes spent admiring this magnificent example of Doric architecture in Sicily, we started our walk between the Greek columns. We felt so small in the middle of those columns more than 10 meters high! We are not used to stay inside a building dating back to 450 BC, so you will not find it hard to believe that it was so exciting for us to touch what the Greeks once touched.

The temples, however, are eight, and it is practically impossible to visit the park in less than two hours (if you are on foot). We were on foot, although there were comfortable shuttles that would have allowed us to save time, but we took the opportunity to take a walk through the long avenues that cross the valley, enjoying the view and even a small pine forest adjacent to the path. The road leading to the Acropolis is quite long and uphill. Luckily we found a shortcut, it was five in the afternoon, it was windy, and on our arrival we found a van selling granita!

The Acropolis

The Temple C on the acropolis
The Temple C on the acropolis

In short, we arrived at the Acropolis, and the amazement was even more. On one side the sea and on the other the remains of other temples – the largest is Temple C, perhaps consecrated to Apollo -, but also the remains of private homes, shops, roads, etc., practically the remains of a city. And if you continue to follow the path, you will reach the North Gate (Porta Nord), which was the main access point to the city of Selinunte. It was strengthened by a wall with two towers, on which it was possible to place the catapults. Moreover, there was a covered tunnel, which allowed soldiers to escape before the arrival of the enemy. It was not, therefore, a simple fortification, but a very ingenious defensive system.

Our visit ended here because the park was about to close. To see the whole park, we would have had to have at least another hour available, and this is an excellent reason to return 🙂

Visit Selinunte: useful information

If you want to visit the park, we recommend, especially in the hottest periods of the year, to bring sneakers, comfortable clothes, and water. Don’t forget the camera! 📷 It rarely happens to take a selfie inside a Greek temple and to enjoy a splendid panorama.

The cost of the ticket is negligible. However, we went on the first Sunday of the month, so we didn’t pay. The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism has established that all archaeological areas and museums are accessible free of charge every first Sunday of the month.

So what are you waiting for? Visit Selinunte!


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