Selinunte was one of the most important of the ancient Greek colonies in Sicily. It was founded, according to the historian Thucydides, by a colony from the Sicilian city of Megara Hyblaea, in the 7th century BCE. At its peak before 409 BC the city may have contained up to 30,000 people, excluding slaves.
In 409 BCE Carthaginian Hannibal crushed and plundered Selinunte, saving only women and children. Thus this is the end of one of the most glorious Greek colonies in the west Sicily. Selinunte was rebuilt by the Carthaginians, but only in the area of the acropolis. They settled elements of Punic civilization, spread new cults, and the old city center of Manuzza becomes necropolis.
During the First Punic War, Selinunte tried to break free from the yoke of Carthage with the help of the Romans. But the Carthaginians preferred to move their resources to Lilibeo and left Selinunte at the mercy of the Romans. Selinunte was never rebuilt and inhabited again.
The archaeological site contains five temples centered on an acropolis. Of the five temples, only the Temple of Hera, also known as 'Temple E', has been re-erected.
The acropolis is a chalk massif with a cliff face falling into the sea in the south, while the north end narrows to 140 metres wide. The settlement in the form of a massive trapezoid, extended to the north with a large retaining wall in terraces (about eleven metres high) and was surrounded by a wall (repeatedly restored and modified) with an exterior of squared stone blocks and an interior of rough stone (emplecton). It had five towers and four gates. To the north, the acropolis was fortified by a counter wall and towers from the beginning of the fourth century BC. At the entrance to the acropolis is the so-called Tower of Pollux, constructed in the sixteenth century to deter the Barbary pirates, atop the remains of an ancient tower or lighthouse.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.