Selinunte, Sicily Italy,

Classical Greek city rising out from the sand.

The Ancient Greek Classical city of Selinous, modern day Selinunte is on the south-west coast of Sicily in the heart of the Mediterranean.

Immigrants from the Greek settlement of Megara Hyblaea (Sicily East Coast) founded Selinous in the 7th century BCE. They named it after the wild celery that once was abundant there. Selinous prosperity and prestige grew in the next few centuries following its foundation and become exceedingly affluent and glorious from exporting wine, cereals, olive oil and ceramic artefacts. 

Admired and envied throughout the Mediterranean, Selinous was a target for invaders. On a fateful day in 409BCE, 100,000 soldiers of the Carthaginian army attacked and almost destroyed the city. Of the 25,000 inhabitants, 16,000 were butchered, and another 7000 were enslaved. Any that survived escaped to the ancient Greek city of Akragas (Agrigento). 

Finally abandoned around 250BCE, the forces of nature then buried Selinous as windblown sand and earth covered the city.

A result of Selinous being mostly buried and forgotten was that the city was frozen in time, similar to the fate of Pompeii.

Palm trees ruins and blue sea. Selinunte. Sicily. Italy.
View of palm trees and the blue waters of the Mediterranean sea from the evocative ruins of the archeological site at Selinunte. Sicily. Italy.

Modern excavations have been revealing, and it is being regarded as the most complete preservation of an Ancient Greek classical city. 

Boosting several Doric Greek temples all identified by a letter, Selinunte archaeological park is the largest in Europe and one of its most beautifully located.

Two highlights being Temple E, which is one of the most complete Greek temples in the world and the massive ruins of unfinished 6th BCE Temple G, which would have been the fourth largest temple ever built in the ancient Greek world. 

Nearby Ancient Selinous is Cave di Cusa which was the ancient quarry used to provide masonry for the Temples. The quarry includes many abandoned colossal cylindrical drum blocks still waiting for two thousand years to be transported to the ancient city. 

Click to view the complete Selinunte image gallery.

All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.