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Selinunte

Villas in Sicily near Selinunte

SelinunteThe ruins in Selinunte are an impressive examples of Greek architecture and town-planning within the whole Mediterranean area, and the site is one of the most captivating in Sicily. In its heyday (VI - V centuries B.C.), this huge settlement had over 100.000 inhabitants, and it was one of the richest and most powerful in the Mediterranean for two centuries. The spectacular remains of its many temples witness its influence. No visit to Selinunte is complete without a walk along the stunning stretch of beach below, from where you can enjoy marvellous views of the cliff-top temples. You will find the path down to the left of the Acropolis parking area.

Ancient historical sources are controversial as to the date of Selinunte’s foundation. According to Diodorus, the city was founded between 651 and 650 BC, while according to Thucydides its foundation dates from 629-628 BC. The first urban nucleus was established on the vast sheer plateau (about 50m above sea level) situated between the valley of Modione river (the ancient Selinos) to the west, and “Gorgo di Cottone” valley to the east. Here the Acropolis rose, of which 5 Temples remain. Behind it, to the north, were the city residential quarters.

The name Selinunte probably derived from the river flowing west of urban boundaries, the Selinos, or, as others have suggested, from a wild plant, a kind of celery (“selinon”), which still grows locally and whose leaves were depicted on the early coins minted in Selinunte.

The westernmost Greek outpost, closely in contact with the Carthaginian-Punic territories and with the Elymian cities of Segesta and Entella, Selinunte extended its influence over the fertile coastal plains, from the mouth of Platani river to the east, to the mouth of Mazarus river to the west, as far as present-day Poggioreale (destroyed and evacuated following a violent earthquake in the 1980s) to the north, behind the Elymian city of Entella. In the late VI century BC, Selinunte had to fight against an Elymian coalition between Erice, Segesta and Alicyae. This early skirmishes and territorial controversies were followed by a long period of peaceful neighbouring relations, accompanied by the urban and architectural development of the city we can still admire by visiting its ruins. In 409 B.C. the town was destroyed by Carthaginians, and only a very small settlement survived under Roman rule when Selinunte saw its final decadence.

Villas in Sicily near Selinunte

The Acropolis at Selinunte

The Columns of Greek Temple

Ancient Greek Temple

The Greek Temple Altar

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