Not too far from Castelvetrano,
facing the Mediterranean Sea, is where the Greek colony
of Selinunte is situated,
today an archaeological site of rare beauty and evocative
Its name is thought to be derived from the Greek word Selinon,
that is a wild parsley, which was found in abundance by its
According to Tucidide, Selinunte was founded
in 628 BC by a Greek colony which came from near
to Megara Hyblaea,
in turn founded in 728 BC by colonists coming from the Greek
city of Megara.
The City was quickly developed and reached its peak in the
5th Century BC, when it had around 25000 inhabitants.
Its fleet participated in the Peloponnesian War between Athens
Its demise came about due to the continual friction with neighbouring
which asked help from the Carthaginians,
who arrived with a 100,000 strong army of men. According to
Diodoro Siculo, this army besieged the City for 9 days and
completely destroyed it. There were 16,000 deaths, 5,000 prisoners
and only 2,600 inhabitants managed to find refuge with its
Selinunte recovered and continued for 2 more centuries under
the Carthaginians, until its demise by the hands of Rome,
which destroyed it once more at the end of the First
The site was abandoned and then only inhabited by hermits
in Medieval times, becoming for centuries
an easy source of stone for the local population.
It’s one of the largest archaeological parks
in Europe. Selinunte is divided
into three areas: the Acropolis, the hills
with Eastern Temples and the Sanctuary
of Demetra Malophoros.