Church of Santa Maria dei Greci in Agrigento

Church of Santa Maria dei Greci in Agrigento

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 Salita Santa Maria dei Greci - Agrigento (AG)

The Church of Santa Maria dei Greci in Agrigento is the ancient cathedral of the Greek-Byzantine rite of the city.
The church was built in 1200 on the remains of an ancient Doric temple, identified by some scholars with the temple of Athena Lindia and Zeus Atabyrios mentioned by Polybius, of which traces of the base are still visible. The church was also a cathedral of the Greek Orthodox rite, and for this reason it is still called the "Church of the Greeks" today. It then became a Catholic cathedral, before the Church of San Gerlando became one. It was a pilgrimage destination in the Middle Ages, and still preserves the signs of the "triple enclosure" engraved on the stone, or three symbolic concentric squares that visitors used to leave on the sacred sites where they went to pray. The transformations that took place in the 14th century are visible, during the period of the influence of the Chiaramonte family and the Spanish Pujades, who ruled Agrigento for the Royal State, as revealed by the signs on the portal.
The facade has a Gothic-style portal chiaramontano.
The interior is bare, with traces of a 14th century fresco cycle on the “Madonna del latte” . During recent restorations, the crypt and the colander were found.
From the small entrance courtyard it is possible to reach the remains of the temple through an underground corridor, consisting of a flight of steps, six truncated columns and the stylobate.
Adjacent to the church, above the remains of the ancient Greek temple, the Antiquarium is set up where all the materials and art objects found during the restoration of the Church and the Crepidoma of the temple are kept and exhibited, dated from prehistoric times to the twentieth century, which tell the long history of the hill and the Church.

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