ARTEMISION DI SIRACUSA – HOME OF DIVINE
Historical stratifications describe that Ortigia Island has been an important trade centre, moreover an artistic and cultural centre, since the Middle Bronze Age. Indeed in the archaeological site Artemision are still clear evidences of prehistorical huts dated to the 2nd millennium b.C., which have been the houses of Sicilian indigenous for a long time, due to the finding of several advanced tools and ceramic fragments.
The Artemision is the Ionic Temple dedicated to Goddess Artemis, it was discovered by the archaeologist Paolo Orsi in 1910 and it is located in an area rich in sacred buildings. Already in Greek period the area was used as a place of worship, due to the finding of bone fragments in this dig site, evidence of animal sacrifices. In the same area was built during the 6th century the Greek Temple of Artemis, the one and only example of Ionic style in all Sicily, even though it remained unfinished. The columns show architectural similarities with Artemis’ Temple in Efeso (Turkey) and the basements have stylistic analogies with Hera’s Temple in Samo (Greece). Great miners and craftsmen came in Siracusa because drawn by its amazing commercial and political importance in the Mediterranean.
Piazza Minerva, 11, Siracusa, SR, 96100
The entire temple was 59 meters long and 25 meters wide, with 6 columns on two fronts and 14 (or 16) on two lateral sides. The entrance was called Pronao and it was at East side, so the back side called Opistodomo was at west side. No roof elements have been found, therefore the hypothesis suggest an open air chamber called Sekos. Just the columned porch called Peristilio had a terracotta roof-tile.
From the glory of ancient age, to the shadows of Middle Age, the last archaeological evidence: the underground Crypt of San Sebastianello’s Church, called Putridarium. To assist and to ensure the transition of departed persons to eternal life, the components of San Sebastianello’s Confraternity made the “double funeral”, taking care of the body during decomposition process up until the burial.
The Pavillion is the entrance hall of the archaeological area and it replaced the destroyed Church of San Sebastianello. It was projected and realized by the architect Vincenzo Latina and it represents the open air chamber Sekos of the Ionic Temple of Artemis. The structure is related with the close “Artemis Garden” designed as donation to the Goddess of fertility and nature, which offers to tourists a great selection of plants and flowers.
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