Malophors Sanctuary in Selinunte
The Sanctuary of Dèmetra Malophòros, located in the Gàggera district, on the sandy slope of the hill, is the oldest sanctuary in the Selinunte Archaeological Park dedicated to the goddess of fertility . It is a complex construction, much remodeled, dating back to the 6th century BC. It is believed that it was a station of the funeral processions which then continued on to the necropolis of Manicalunga.
The sanctuary consists of a quadrangular enclosure which is accessed through a square propylaum in antis, preceded by a small staircase and a circular structure. Outside the enclosure wall, the propylaum is flanked by the remains of a long portico equipped with seats for pilgrims, in front of which there are several altars. Inside the enclosure there is a large altar, found full of ashes, animal bones and other remains of sacrifices. Between the altar and the temple there is also a stone channel which crosses the whole area, bringing water from a nearby spring to the sanctuary.
Immediately beyond the canal there is the real Temple of Demeter in the shape of Mègaron, without base and columns, with pronaos, cell and adyton with a vaulted niche in the back wall; a rectangular service area rests on the north side of the pronaos.
There are many finds from the sanctuary of the Malophòros and they are all kept at the Antonio Salinas Archological Museum in Palermo: arule carved with mythological scenes; about 12,000 votive figurines of male and female offerers in terracotta datable between the seventh and fifth centuries BC; large censer-busts depicting Demeter and perhaps Tanit; a large amount of Corinthian pottery; a bas-relief depicting the rape of Persephone by Hades comes from the entrance area to the enclosure.
Proceeding along the slopes of the Gàggera hill, you reach the source from which the Sanctuary of Malophòros was supplied with water; downstream from it there is a monumental fountain. Rectangular in shape built with square blocks, it consisted of a cistern, a closed basin protected by a portico with columns, and a flight of steps with four steps with a large paved area in front. The building, which had Doric shapes, dates back to the mid-sixth century BC.