The western entrance to the Valley of the Temples was originally Gate V of the city Akragas, also called the ‘Sacred Gate’ because it gave access directly to the religious area of the ancient city. This area was dedicated to Demeter and her daughter Persephone, or Kore, goddesses linked to the agricultural cycle and the fertility of the Earth (Chthonic Deities), fervently venerated by the ancient Greeks. Their cult was so widespread throughout Sicily that classical poets considered the island as the “wedding gift” of Zeus to Persephone and, in particular, Akragas as the “land of Persephone”. The extensive sacred area dedicated to the cult of the goddesses is studded with numerous altars, corrals and shrines and stretches out over three broad terraces located between Gate V and the valley of the Kolymbethra.
Here sacrificial rituals and mystical cults took place from the first half of the 6th century B.C. until the end of the Hellenistic era. Some isolated or paired altars are still visible in this area: circular altars for offerings of cereals and fruits and rectangular altars for animal sacrifices. Worshippers also often offered the Divinities small objects such as terracotta statues, as testified by the remains found on the Terrace of the Donari. One of the monuments that was built in this area In 5th century BC is the Temple of Dioscuri Brothers (Castor and Pollux); a corner has been reconstructed in 1836 by using blocks of different periods found in the area. The columns and the architrave still retain traces of white stucco with which the temples were originally completely covered; only the upper part was multicoloured.
A second Temple was aligned next to the Temple of Dioscuri: their proximity seems to suggest that this pair of Temples was dedicated to Demeter and Kore. Howsoever, within the sacred area other Gods linked to the cult of Demeter and Kore such as Dionysius, God of Wine, and Castor and Pollux, protectors of the cavalry, the navigators and all needy people, were also venerated. Gate V represents not only the “Sacred Gate” of the ancient city, but is also a fine example of military architecture of the time. It features some details similar to the Gates of Scea of the city of Troy described by Homer in his Iliad. The gate was backed deeply into the walls, thus creating a funnel. The wall on the right side of the funnel was longer and was enforced with a bastion in order to facilitate its defence from above: the enemy soldiers approaching the gate were forced to offer their unprotected left side to the arrows and lances of the defending army. An ingenious and lethal gimmick.
The Archaeological Park has three entrances: one to the Nord “ Teatro Ellenistico” (near to the Ancient Theatre and Archaeological Museum), one the East ” Giunone” (near to the Temple of Juno) and one to the West ” Porta V” (near to the ancient Greek gate).
Each one of the entrances to the Valley of the Temples offer this services: Parking, Tickets, Bus, Information.
Visiting some areas on the outskirts of the Valley of the Temples may subject to the presence of custodians.
Open daily all year round 8.30 a.m. – 7.00 p.m.
Evening visits only during the summer:
from Monday to Friday
entry between 7.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m. and exit by 11.00 p.m.;
on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays
entry 7.30 p.m. – 11.00 p.m. and exit by midnight.
Ticket to the Valley of the Temples: €10 per person.
Free entry for children, younger than 18 years old. 50% discount for EU citizens between 18 and 25 of age
Valley of the Temples + Archaeological Museum = € 13.50
Valley of the Temples + Garden of the Kolymbethra= € 15.00
Valley of the Temples: contacts for institutional information
Tel. +39 0922621611
Fax +39 092226438
Coop Culture – Ticket Office “Porta V” : contacts for ticket and information
tel. +39 09221839996
The following coordinates indicate the point of interest
N 37° 17' 29.08''
E 13° 34' 52.04''