Fires in Sicily: Two dead - The 2500-year-old Ancient Doric temple of Segesta is at risk


The situation in Sicily is dramatic, where more than 50 fire fronts remain active, causing evacuations and the closure of Palermo airport. Two people have died from the large fires raging in southern Italy.

A 98-year-old man was found dead in his farmhouse, which was engulfed in flames, in a mountainous area near Reggio Calabria. In Sardinia, a 55-year-old seasonal worker of the district, who took part in the efforts to extinguish the fire, died from an obstruction.

The temperature on the island reached 48 degrees.

In Sicily, the flames came very close to the Ancient Greek temple of the archaeological park of Segesta, dating from the 5th century BC, on the island's northwest side.

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The fire destroyed the store that sells souvenirs, as well as the cafeteria of the archaeological park.

The church, which was saved thanks to the efforts of the firefighters, is particularly well-known in Italy. The mayor of the area, Francesco Groppuso, expressed his anger, considering it the work of arsonists.

For precautionary reasons, hotels and rental rooms in the wider area were evacuated.

In the coastal area of ​​Modelo, just outside Palermo, dozens of people were forced to leave their homes as the flames came dangerously close.

At the same time, the fire department evacuated houses in the island's western region, in Monreale and San Giuseppe Yato.

The flames also threatened the resorts of Sicily, forcing tourists to leave.

Near Trapani, on the island's west coast, resorts and hotels in San Vito Lo Capo were also evacuated.

In Carruba di Riposto, north of the city of Catania, a massive fire destroyed an area of ​​lush vegetation.

Fires also broke out near Palermo International Airport, which serves the island's capital and was forced to close early Tuesday morning as flames raged around the airport's perimeter.

The airport is partially reopening, but fires continue to burn in other parts of the island, fueled by gale-force winds and very high temperatures.

The dozens of fire fronts also caused problems on the roads and railway lines in the surrounding area.

The Temple of Segesta

On a hill just outside the site of the ancient city of Segesta lies an unusually well-preserved Doric temple. Some think it to have been built in the 420s BC by an Athenian architect, despite the city not having any Greek population. The prevailing view is that it was built by the indigenous Elymians.

The temple has six by fourteen columns on a base measuring 21 by 56 metres, on a platform three steps high. Several elements suggest that the temple was never finished.

The columns have not been fluted as they normally would have been in a Doric temple, and there are still bosses present in the blocks of the base (used for lifting the blocks into place but then normally removed).

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