Agrigento (Italian: Agrigento, until 1927 Girgenti ) is away from the sea, a town with 58 063 inhabitants ( 31 December 2012) on the south coast of Sicily, 4 km. Agrigento is the capital of the province of Agrigento.
The city is located on 213 m s.l.m. on a steep east and north and west slowly sloping rock height and is surrounded by two rivers, the S. Anna or Fiume Drago and S. Biagio. These unite below the town halfway to the sea.
The urban area is divided by a deep valley into two halves, of which the north-western part rises up to 328 m, 351 m to the southeast to above sea level. The Acropolis is located in the northwestern part. The metropolitan area in the form of an irregular rectangle covers an area of about 450 hectares. The total area of the municipality is 244 km ², the population density is about 217 inhabitants / km ².
The neighboring municipalities are Aragona, Cattolica Eraclea, Favara, Joppolo Giancaxio, Mont Allegro, Naro, Palma di Montechiaro, Porto Empedocle Raffadali, Real Monte Sant'Angelo Muxaro and Siculiana.
It is believed that the place was occupied early on by a settlement of the Sicani, for them the wide rock-cut gears system is attributed. In addition, a pre-Greek necropolis west of the city was found.
Around the year 582 BC built emigrants from Gela and Rhodes here the city of Akragas, which was later called in Roman times Agrigentum.
On the history of the ancient city, see: Temple Valley
When the Arabs conquered AD Agrigentum in 829, stood on the site of the ancient city, only an insignificant village on the northern hill of the ancient settlement, the former Acropolis. Under the name Kerkent or Gergent there was a significant Berber settlement that developed into a center of Muslim colonization of Sicily and competed with the Arab Palermo for supremacy.
1087 Gergent was conquered by the Normans. Roger II built a diocese here. Among other things, through trade with North Africa and the agriculture Gergent became a prosperous city. The site initially focused on the western part of Girgenti hill. There are also the oldest churches in Agrigento, the Cathedral of St Gerland and S. Maria dei Greci. East of the original location (about east of the Via Bac -Bac ) was established in the 13th century, a new neighborhood, which was built mainly by the Chiaramonte family, which was one of the most important noble families of Sicily in the late Middle Ages. The Chiaramonte family also had a late Gothic cloister of S. Spirito build.
With the expulsion of the Arabs by Frederick II, the city lost economically important. Therefore, no major construction activity took place over the following centuries. Under Spanish and Bourbon rule fell Girgenti, as the city has since been called back to an insignificant provincial town from. Only the church architecture from the 16th century still took an upswing, which is witnessed by churches such as San Lorenzo and San Domenico. In 1927, the city adopted the Latinized name Agrigento.
St Gerland The cathedral was built in the 11th century on the highest point of Girgenti hill. Conjecture that the archaic Temple of Zeus was built over the Cathedral, have not yet been proven by archaeological finds. The cathedral was rebuilt several times, including in the 16-17. Century, and largely restored by a restoration completed in 1980 back in the medieval state.
At the facade carries a wide staircase up. Right ( south ) of the façade is a massive bell tower in Chiaramonte style. The interior has three naves with the plan of a Latin cross. The front part of the nave is covered with a free- beam ceiling from 1518, kept the middle part slightly higher lying with a coffered ceiling of 1682nd In a chapel in the right wing, which has a Gothic portal, a silver urn with the relics of St. Gerlando.
The church of S. Maria dei Greci was built about 1200 on the remains of a Doric temple, probably the Athenetempels. She was the main church of the Greek Orthodox Christians of Agrigento in the Middle Ages. The ogival portal is preceded by a small overgrown yard. The plan of the church is in the shape of a Greek cross. The interior has three naves with three flat rounded apses. On the ceiling beams are still remnants of scuff marks from the 14th century to find, and on the right side wall there are the remains of medieval frescoes. On the north side of the church can be seen below the level of the Church parts of the excavated Krepis and six Doric columns stumps of Athenetempels.
- S. Spirito (13th century), Cistercian Church and Monastery in Chiaramonte style ( late Gothic ), inside stucco work by Giacomo Serpotta
- S. Lorenzo (17th century), also Chiesa del Purgatorio ( Church of Purgatory ), called significant Baroque church of Agrigento
- S. Domenico
- Porta Atenea, city gate from the 19th century
- Via Atenea, the main street of Agrigento
- Diocesan Museum, Museum with frescoes and reliquaries from the Byzantine period
Valley of the Temples
The most prominent landmark in Agrigento is the so-called " Valley of the Temples ", actually a plateau located south of the present Old Town and deeper than this. Here are the archaeological sites of Agrigento, showing the remains of the ancient city of Akragas and are among the most impressive archaeological sites in Sicily. In 1997, the archaeological sites of Agrigento by the UNESCO declared World Heritage Site.
There is also the Archaeological Museum, which displays finds from the prehistory and early history and the ancient world from the area of Agrigento.
About 4 km south of the historic center of the district of San Leone is located on the sea. The district has several beaches.
About 2 km west of the old town can be visited in the district Villaseta the birthplace of Luigi Pirandello. It was founded in 1949 by the Italian government declared a national monument. Inside you will find furniture and personal items Pirandellis well as photos and the first editions of his books.
Between the 1st and 2nd Sunday in February, takes place every year the almond blossom festival Sagra del Mandorlo. The Almond Blossom Festival originated in 1934 in Naro according to the idea of Count Alfonso Gaetani, to celebrate the glorious bloom. In 1937 the festival to Agrigento in the Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi ) was moved and is now regarded as the cultural event of the year.
Sons and daughters
- Polos, philosopher, 5th century BC
- Empedocles ( about 490 BC to about 430 BC), philosopher, physician, politician, atonement priest and poet
- Philinos of Akragas, historians in the 3rd century BC
- Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936), writer, Nobel Prize for Literature
- Frank Sivero (* 1952), actor
- Angelino Alfano (born 1970 ), politician
- Rosa Barba (born 1972 ), filmmaker and media artist
In close connection to Agrigento is Alexander Hardcastle (1872-1933), a captain in the British Navy and amateur archaeologist.
Agrigento hosted the UCI Road World Championships 1994. In this World Cup for the first time the discipline of the time trial was included, won the Chris Boardman before Andrea Chiurato and Jan Ullrich.