"OLYMPIEION of Agrigentum ? Tempio di Zeus Olimpio" Top 5 Page for this destination Agrigento Things to Do Tip by picek
Agrigento Things to Do: 72 reviews and 104 photos
It was intended to be the largest Doric temple ever constructed; however it was never completed. Earthquaqes and fights turned temple into what you can see nowsadays as impressive ruins with huge stones – and one can imagine what power of men was needed here to build such construction. Olympieion was erected in 480 BC by thousands of Carthaginian prisoners and measured 113,50 m in length by 56,30 m wide – as a gesture of thanks to Zeus for victory of Agrigetians over the Carthaginians in battle of Himera; it is believed that by constructing the biggest building people of Agrigentum wanted to prove that they can do better than their neighbors and are on par with Ionians.
Some interesting 'details': the entablature was supported by half columns which were 20 m high and 4,5 m in diameter set against impressive blind wall. Telamones (atlantes – giant males) used to stand between those Doric half-columns to hold up the entablature of roof. These sculptures measured 8 m in height and while you can see one of such atlantes lying on the ground (in the middle of temple) nowsadays you have to keep in mind that is the reproduction of giant to give you idea of scale; real one can be seen in archeological museum safe from weather conditions. Many of details and idea of how was temple really like is unknown to historians.
Directions: On the west site of Valley of Temples, few meters from ticket doors and souvenir stalls - see the large pyle of stomes, excavations and telamones.