Segesta is according to many the finest preserved Greek Temple in the world, and its amphitheatre boasts a hilltop position on Mount Barbaro second to none. The archaeological site, about seventy kilometres southwest of Palermo, reflects the presence of several ancient civilizations, beginning with the elusive Elymians. While the magnificent Doric temple, though (strictly speaking) never completed – as the roof was never added and the pillars never fluted – is impressive, it is just the highlight of a large archaeological park. How do I know all this? Because I copied it from a website. Why? Because there is nothing around the Temple area offering any information, Jack, not a sausage. And we do not want to hire a guide, of which there are many hanging around waiting for your loot, nor do we want to buy a guidebook written in the 1970’s with oversaturated photos, I can oversaturate them myself.
Segesta Temple with Obligatory Scaffold
So for €6 you get entrance to the whole park but not included is the shuttle bus that takes you between the Temple and the Theatre, that will cost you another €1.50 each. You can obviously walk up but it is a mile straight up hill, so fit folks off you go. The big advantage of choosing to walk is it delivers the best opportunity of photographing the Temple. Here is a map:
The Elymians, not to be confused with the Olympians or the Corinthians are a crowd of people from Anatolia and turned up here in about 1200BC and built the temple some time before 450BC. It appears they assimilated into Greek culture when they arrived in about 600BC and between them turned this place into one of the most important and powerful cities in the Greek world.
The temple is just over sixty meters long and twenty-six meters wide, built upon four steps, with a total of thirty-six Doric columns. There are fourteen columns on each side of the building and six columns across the front and back. But what makes this different to the temples we saw in Greece is it is original. From the Parthenon down there is not a great deal of original masonry left, it is either safely tucked away in a museum, stolen by the evil Lord Elgin or trashed by the Christians. So in size it does not compare to the Parthenon but in originality it hammers it.
The nearby Mount Barbaro has been used as a settlement by all the major historical races and creeds since the Elymians all those years ago. As well as the theatre there is a church, mosque and roman agora. There are actually some signs up here telling you what is what and the archaeological excavation work is on-going.
One Bloke working, the rest talking.
At a diameter of around sixty-two meters, the amphitheatre is not very large but still impressive. It offers a high vantage point from which to view the surrounding valleys. It does have some cute features we have not seen before like backrests for the posh seats. The posh seats like a modern cinema are situated in the middle in the back row as opposed to the front row in Greece. Perhaps these folks had discovered the joys of an evening performance of some dull tragedy with their favourite girl. Pictures.
Looking up from the Stage
View from the posh seats
So there you have it, our take on Segesta. If you have not been to Greece or have no interest in going then Segesta is a viable alternative, if you happen to be in Sicily. It does have a bit of an un-loved feel about the place although this probably changes in summer when it is packed. But to see a Temple in an original condition is a bit special and something we have not experienced before. If you have a Motorhome you can stop over in the car-park with no problems. We will leave you with some pictures.
Love to All
E & T
View from the top of the mountain
Same view different lens
Taken from the bus so quality a bit naff