Ortigia’s Ancient Temples

One could argue that the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis in Siracusa (The archaeological park dedicated to the “New City” in Syracuse) often steels the thunder from the ancient ruins travelers can find in the “old city,” or Ortigia, pictured. Ortigia, the ancient island center of Siracusa, has been occupied by modern civilizations since the 8th century B.C.E., so it’s easy to miss its ancient ruins, often right before your eyes. In this photo, on the left, still stands the temple to Athena, which now acts as the essential structure of the city’s Duomo. Look closely, and you’ll see the Doric columns buried in the stones. On the right, the baroque municipal building sits on top of what once was a temple to the goddess Artemis.

Meanwhile, one may visit the temple dedicated to Artemis’ twin brother, Apollo, almost immediately when you arrive on Ortigia over the bridge named for Santa Lucia. Next to Demeter and Kore (whose temple was located on Siracusa’s mainland) the cults of Athena, Artemis, and Apollo (and Aphrodite too) were significant in Siracusa.

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