Valley of the Temples, temple area of Jupiter Olympius will shine again

Four construction sites aimed at restoring and enhancing the Temple of Jupiter Olympius will begin in March.

Four construction sites in the Valley of the Temples will begin in March, covering the area of the Temple of Jupiter Olympius. It is planned to bring to correct rereading the entire sacred area of the sanctuary, the path that led to the altar of Jupiter, and to musealize numerous artifacts of the architectural decoration. In particular, the entablature (architrave, frieze, and cornice) supported by the telamons (originally there were thirty-eight) will also be reassembled and parts of the huge statue will be musealized, which will be supported on its feet thanks to a thin Corten steel plate with brackets of a few millimeters: an earthquake-proof, state-of-the-art support.

We are not referring to the copy lying among the remains of the temple of Jupiter Olympius, but to another original thalamon, the parts of which were found and reassembled on a relief by Heinz-Jurgen Beste of the Archaeological Institute of Rome, who in turn worked on drawings by Pirro Marconi, the archaeologist who excavated at the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento in the 1920s.

The area of the temple of Jupiter Olympius will thus shine again. TheOlympieion was erected inancient Akràgas after the victory of Theron over the Carthaginians at the Battle of Himera in 480 BC. The monumental Doric temple made of calcarenite blocks was a novelty for the time because of the different architectural solutions employed, with fluted half-columns nearly twenty meters high.

The telamons, which reached a height of almost eight meters, stood about eleven meters above the floor, resting on corbels and with their torsos anchored to the masonry. Efforts are now being made to redraw the map of the Olympieion, which collapsed after an earthquake in 1401, and was completely devastated in the eighteenth century when most of its limestone blocks were used to build the pier at Porto Empedocle. While awaiting the start of the four construction sites, the exact mapping of the temple (including by drone that returns a complete view of the area) and its most important architectural elements has been completed.

“The area deserves to be recovered and enhanced,” said Valley of the Temples Archaeological Park director Roberto Sciarratta, “the public will soon be able to visit it in its entirety: the secondary entrances will be closed and it will be possible to follow a single tour route that will lead from the Olympieion to the remains of the altar, freed from the boulders that collapsed during excavations in the 1920s, so that the perception of the connection between altar and temple will be regained.”


Valley of the Temples, temple area of Jupiter Olympius will shine again
Valley of the Temples, temple area of Jupiter Olympius will shine again

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