Falaride Oratory in Valley of Temples
The Oratory of Falaride della Valle dei Templi dates back to the end of the 2nd century BC. C. and was built when the ancient ekklesiasterion of the classical period was completely covered with earth. Several hypotheses have been made regarding the function of this building, initially it was believed that it was a tomb of an important Roman family. Today the most accepted hypothesis is that it is a small religious building placed on a podium characterized by a small staircase.
The small cell is the only part of the temple that is come to our days. It is believed that, according to a common use of the Hellenistic age, the sanctuary possessed a mixture of architectural orders with Ionic columns that supported a Doric entablature with alternating triglyphs and metopes.
The sanctuary of Falaride was used as a place of Christian worship : the widening of the cell door which was given an arch shape and a pointed end and the presence inside the structure of a ribbed vault and the construction of an apse in the east part date back to this period. The apse is no longer present but appears depicted by travelers from the late eighteenth century. It is believed that it was removed during an attempt to restore its ancient appearance, following the provisions of neoclassical thought.