Archaeological Area of Agrigento

In December 1997, during the 21st annual session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, held in Naples (December 1-6, 1997), the property named “Archaeological Area of Agrigento” entered the World Heritage List.

he document ICOMOS N ° 831 describes the property and the main monuments it contains and that composes the property that was declared World Heritage Property. The monuments mentioned in the ICOMOS 831 document are:

Temple of Zeus (Jupiter)
Temple of Hera (Juno)
Temple of Concordia
Temple of Hercules
Ctone Deity (Demeter and Persephone and Dioscuri)
Temple of Vulcano
Tomb of Terone
Christian tombs

Geographical coordinates: N37 17 23 E13 35 36
Inscribed property area: 934 ha
Surface of the buffer zone: 1,869 ha

Criteria for the assessment of Outstanding Universal Value

The Committee has decided to register the Archaeological Area of Agrigento on the basis of criteria (I) (II) (III) (IV):

Criterio I: to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;

Criterio II: to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;

Criterio III: to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;

Criterio IV: o be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.

Declaration of Outstanding Universal Value and Justification for Inscription

Agrigento was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean area and has remained intact in exceptional conditions. The complex of Doric temples is one of the main examples of Greek art and culture.

Art, history and nature have made this place of antiquity famous to this day according to the testimonies of classical writers (Pindar, Polibio, Diodorus Siculus, etc.), of historiography of the XVI-XVII century (Fazello, Cluviero), of artists and travelers of the seventeenth-nineteenth century who have left us some memorable texts and images. Think of Houel, Saint-Non, Denon, Swinburne, Brydone and especially Goethe whose most moving pages of the Italianische Reise are dedicated to the natural and artistic beauties of Agrigento.

The proposal was born from the consistency and monumental characteristics of the property and the universal recognition of its value. Agrigento is, in fact, a superb testimony of the splendor of one of the most important Greek colonies of the West. The ancient city extended over a large area, and is today known as Valley of the Temples by the number of religious buildings that houses and which document the wealth and cultural development up to the fourth century AD, together with the incredible natural scenery that still surrounds it; it was the seat of the activity and source of inspiration for poets and philosophers such as Pindar and Empedocles.

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