Visiting Syracuse, a city of ancient history

Syracuse, Sicily, ©girolame/Flickr

Syracuse, Sicily, ©girolame/Flickr

The city of Syracuse is located in the southeastern region of Sicily, lying along the coast of the Ionian Sea. The town was founded by the Corinthians on the ruins of a previous Greek settlement in the year of 734 BC. For this reason Syracuse has an ancient Greek past which blends a little bit of history of Europe and the Mediterranean with mythology. Today it stands as a modern city but it is still surrounded by archeological sites, temples, castles and amphitheaters which are visited by many tourists. Read on and find out more about the historical past of this beautiful region which has been influenced by several cultures and played important roles in the life of religion.

Syracuse – from hand to hand

As it was previously mentioned the city of Syracuse has played an important role in the life of certain religions such as Judaism and also Christianity. There are tangible traces to be found of these named religions dating back to the Middle Ages and the Byzantine period. By the 4th century

Syracuse, ©girolame/Flickr

Syracuse, ©girolame/Flickr

Syracuse has been flourishing and even Plato who visited Sicily referred to it as a utopian society. Soon enough, most specifically in the 2nd century BC, Syracuse has fallen into the arms of the Romans, then later in the 5th century captured by the Goths and by Byzantine Greeks after that. In the 9th century the Arabs have taken over the town who converted the temple of Athena into a mosque. Around the year of 1040 the Byzantines have reclaimed the city but haven’t kept it for long.

Syracuse, Sicily, ©girolame/Flickr

Syracuse, Sicily, ©girolame/Flickr

Managed to eliminate the local emir however they had constant quarrels amongst themselves and soon the Arabs returned and took back Syracuse for themselves. The city contnued to grow in wealth, technology and agriculture but in 1085 the Normans swept the Arabs out.

Ancient structures in Syracuse

Having such a rich and diverse cultural and historical background Syracuse has to offer several sights to see for those who decide to visit this wonderful city. Most of these sites can be found and seen in Ortygia, the historic center of this medieval town. Here you can admire the largest still standing Greek temple of Syracuse which has been converted into a cathedral.

The cathedral incorporates the ancient temple of Athena, ©MeRyan/Flickr

The cathedral incorporates the ancient temple of Athena, ©MeRyan/Flickr

It is the previous Temple of Athena or in other cultures called Minerva, built by the Greeks but then transformed by the Arabs. Visit more important sites of Roman and Greek origin at Teminite Hill and the archeological Park not far from Via G. Emanuele Rizzo and Viale Teracati.

 

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