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D + 24: Reaching the Greek Hemisphere

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

After three and a half weeks of sailing and having visited Genovese and Pisan places, towns owned by the Kings of Aragon as well as ancient Phoenician settlements, we finally reached the Greeks hemisphere. We are in Selinunte on Sicily's south coast. Greek colonists settled here in the 7th century BC and built a town with more than 30'000 inhabitants. Selinunte also has one of the biggest temple complexes in the entire Hellenic world. The temple of Zeus is significantly larger than the Pantheon in Athens. Unfortunately, several earth quakes in the 7th and 10th century AD completely destroyed it.

The Temple of Hera with 6 x 15 column. The Pantheon in Athens - by comparison - has 8 x 17 columns. The Hera Temple was built in 475 BC and also collapsed but was re-erected in the mid 1950 using the existing material.

Arriving in Selinunte's tiny fishing harbor where the rotting seaweed greeted us with rather unpleasant smells

Museum site model of Selinunte's fortified part - the settled area was far bigger

The magnificent pillars of the Temple of Hera in the morning sun

The ruins of the much larger Temple of Zeus which had 8 x 17 pillars,, was 113m long, 54m wide and 30m high. The temple was under construction from 530 - 409 BC but never finished

Its large doldrums are flat and never fluted as Dorian columns usually are.

Selinunte's Acropolis with the Temple of Apollo. Between 400 - 250 BC, the town changed several times hands between Greek rulers and Carthage and was eventually destroyed. When the Romans took over Sicily in 238 BC, they never bothered to rebuild it but created their own colony in Castelveterano - town for veterans. Selinunte decayed and the two surrounding rivers became malaria infested. Nobody maintained the Greek channels which had kept the town malaria free.

Ancient Selinunte heats up very quickly under the August sun - even in the morning

Jan looking at one of the few Phoenician mosaics which survived - the bull represents the Phoenician God Thal.

There are considerably more people on Selinunte Beach than in the ancient ruins

Time to get back to the AFAET - our skipper wanted to move east given the strong incoming west winds later in the afternoon

An hour later they hit us - sailing is fun with good wind but we needed a harbour for staying overnight - apparently all were full - question of price and negotiations? Yes of course!

We eventually found one in Sciacca, the old Norman town on Sicily's south coast - glad we can avoid a rocky night since the wind freshened up to 25 knots and will get even stronger towards the morning. We are now just 36 miles away from Agrigento with the wonderful Temple Valley. If the weather turns too bad tomorrow, we shall visit it by cab.


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