Magical Moments: The Valley of the Temples - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Magical Moments: The Valley of the Temples

The Temple of Concordia from the olive grove

{all photos by Mary Hart}

Today we have a fun parent-contributed Magical Moment to share. Phillip and Mary Hart are a Track B family with son Bede in Primary. This is their third year at SLOCA, and here’s an account of a special time they enjoyed, connecting with ancient history:

Last summer whilst on vacation in Sicily, we were excited to visit The Valley of the Temples, one of the most outstanding examples of Greek art and architecture in Sicily. It is located in what is now Agrigento, but in ancient Greece was once a thriving port city, ‘Akragas’, home of Persephone. Akragas attracted poets and artists alike, one poet described it as “the most beautiful of mortal cities”. 

Settled as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., the temples were erected a century later. The great temples are Hera (Juno), Lacinia, Concordia, Heracles (Hercules), Zues (Jupiter), Castor and Pollux and Hephaistos (Vulcan).  Agrigento has 25 centuries of living history, and the Temples are a stunning and magnificent visual reminder of this history. 

The Temple of Hera

The remains of the 7 temples are situated on a long, high plateau with rocky valleys on both sides of the hilltop. Surrounding the temples are ancient olive and almond trees, it is said the early Greek inhabitants enjoyed an abundance of cereals, olive oil and wine, as well as a fantastic territory in which to raise and breed animals. 

In 1997, the site was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site and massive undertakings have rebuilt a few of the collapsed temples (Hera and Heracles). The Temple of Concordia is the most intact – this is where our son, Bede, is pictured standing on a boulder:

The Temple of Concordia

We prepared ourselves for the Valley of the Temples by listening to Jim Weiss’ retelling of the Greek myths on cds in the car. While Phillip and I were awed when we rounded the “bend in the road” and looked up and saw them stretching into the sky, it is quite remarkable to stand atop this scrag and look out to the Mediterranean as so many before have done over the centuries. Bede, as a typical 7 year old, was thrilled to climb and jump from ruin to ruin, in particular he “bouldered” the mighty columns of the Heracles’ temple that were fallen and scattered along the ground. 

Bede playing on the fallen columns of the Temple of Heracles

If you ever find yourself in Sicily, this is definitely worth a visit! The sea is down the road, so after a good visit to the Temples, refresh yourself with a dip in the Mediterranean and flavor some of the local foods and wines!

Thank you, Mary, for sharing these memories and photos of your trip. How exciting to walk around the ruins of these Greek temples!

If you have a magical moment you’d like to share on the blog, please email it to Down Home – we love connecting with each other through stories and special moments! 

Don't forget, our Family Business Meeting and Potluck is tonight at 6 pm at Grace Church – see you there!

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