Eraclea Minoa Tourist Attractions
CommunicationsSS 115 Agrigento-Sciacca, exit (28km/17mi from Agrigento) in a southerly direction, after 3.5km/2mi reaching the excavation area.LocationThe ancient town, which has been the object of research since 1907, lies on the Capo Bianco on the south coast of Sicily, directly east of the mouth of the River Plátani, the ancient Halykos.HistoryThe town was established from Selinunte in the sixth century on the site of a pre-Greek settlement. It was called Minoa because, according to Greek tradition, King Minos of Crete, in pursuit of Daedalus, landed here in the realm of the Sican king, Cocalus. He demanded that Daedalus be handed over, but instead was murdered himself at the hands of Cocalus in the castle of Camicus. Around 505 B.C. the town was occupied by Euryelon and now became called Heracleia, or was called this in addition to its former name (the double name seldom occurred in antiquity, generally just the new name Heracleia). Situated as it was in the border-area between Greek and Carthaginian domination, the town had frequent changes of ruler. In 262 and finally in 210 B.C. it became Roman. It suffered damage in the Slaves' War of 132 B.C. and during the pillaging by Verres (73-71 B.C.). Excavations Excavation work has uncovered parts of the ancient, at one time 6km/4mi long, town wall with its bastions and gates, as well as a Greek theater (third century B.C.; its rows of seats covered with unattractive plastic). Of note are the nine seating areas with side and back-rests, which were obviously intended for important dignitaries, as well as public and private buildings and a Greek necropolis. In the antiquarium (at the excavation entrance) finds from nearby can be seen (vases, terracotta figures, household tools), as well as plans, reconstruction drawings and photographs.
Founded in the 17th century, the town of Cattólica Eraclea (13km/8mi northeast) (Altitude: 220m/722ft; 6,500 inhabitants, railroad station) is the municipality with responsibility for Eraclea Minoa. It lies at the foot of Monte Sorcio (520m/1,706m), above the valley of the Plátani.
Siculiana Marina (18km/11mi southeast of Cattólica Eraclea) is a holiday resort with a sandy beach and cliffs.
Situated 230m/756ft up, Ribera (18km/11mi northwest, near the SS 115, 17,000 inhabitants) is the center of an agricultural area. It was founded in 1627 on the site of the ancient settlement of Allava, of which a necropolis is still preserved. The fortress of Poggio Diana dates from the 14th c. Ribera was the birthplace of the politician Francesco Crispi (1819-1901), who was twice Prime Minister of Italy (1887-91 and 1893-96).Cultural events"The meeting", a folkloric and religious festival in March; "The Ribera summer", a summer festival in August.