Temple of Olympian Zeus (Jupiter)

Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples

The Akragantines, after their victory over the Carthaginians at Himera (480- 479), as a thanks- giving to Zeus, erected this building that, for its proportions, was one of largest of antiquity. It is an essentially Doric building but it was pseudoperipteral i.e. there were no free-standing columns but demi-columns , seven by fourteen, engaged into a continuous wall.

The massive rectangular platform stands on five steps, faced east and measured 113, 20 meters in length and 56meters in width, a double square covering an area of 6407 square meters, nearly the dimensions of a soccer field that can accommodate approximately 42.00 spectators. In the intercolumni (spaces between the columns) stood giant statues (7.61 metres high) called Telamons or Atlantes. The historian Tommaso Fazello, who can be regarded as the discoverer of the temple of Zeus, reported that most of the building fell to the ground on 9 December 1401.