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The Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi) is a famous archaeological site in Agrigento, Sicily, housing some of the best-preserved Ancient Greek ruins in the world outside of Greece. Agrigento had been a Greek colony since the 6th century BC.
More a ridge than a valley, the Valley of the Temples is mainly comprised of the beautiful ruins of 9 sacred temples. Beyond the temples, the Valley of the Temples has numerous other archaeological sites, including the 1st century AD Tomb of Theron and several sanctuaries, the oldest of which was built around the 6th century BC.
A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997, the Valley of the Temples also has an on-site museum for visitors to explore.
Valley of the Temples history
The majority of the sites at the Valley of the Temples were initially constructed in the 5th century BC. However, having been destroyed first by the Carthaginians around 406 BC and then the Christians in the 6th century AD, the temples have since been partly reconstructed.
The excavation and restoration project was largely due to the efforts of archaeologist Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta, the Duke of Serradifalco from 1809 to 1812.
Valley of the Temples today
Today, visitors can spend several hours wandering back into ancient times through the Valley of the Temples. The oldest of the temples, the Temple of Herakles, was constructed in the 6th century BC and dedicated to one of the ancient Greeks’ most venerated deities: Hercules. The temple is believed to have been one of the first built by the area’s Greek tyrant, Theron. Destroyed by an earthquake, all that remains of the Temple of Herakles were 8 Doric columns.
The best preserved of the ruins are the 5th century BC Temple of Concorde, saved from destruction when it was incorporated into an early Christian church. The spaces between columns were filled in and the pagan altar destroyed. Visitors with a keen eye should spot the head of Medusa on the back of Icarus’ wing next to the temple, a nearby remnant of the pagan era.
The other temples are dedicated to Juno, Olympian Zeus (in celebration of the Greek victory over Carthage), Hephaistos, Hera Lacinia and Castor and Pollux. The Temple to Castor and Pollux, despite only consisting of 4 columns, became the modern symbol for Agrigento after being reconstructed in the 19th century using pieces from other temples.
The Valley of the Temples is also home to the Tomb of Theron, a large monument in a pyramid shape made from volcanic rock. The monument is believed to have commemorated Romans killed during the Second Punic War.
Multiple informative boards are dotted along the paths to provide you with further details of the site. Also remember to bring plenty of drinking water and a hat when visiting during the intense Mediterranean summer.
Getting to the Valley of the Temples
Located along the SP4, the Valley of the Temples is only a 4 minute drive from Agrigento on the Sicilian coast. It is a 2 hour drive from either Palermo or Catania, and you must walk from the car park up to the ruins.
Alternately, Agrigento has a central transit station with both train and bus links, so with comfortable footwear and plenty of water, you could walk from the town to the ruins in 30 minutes.
History of Memorial Jewelry
When you're looking for a unique way to honor your loved one's memory, you might want to consider memorial jewelry. Whether it's a simple keepsake or a piece of cremation jewelry, memorial jewelry can be an important memento and a tangible reminder of the person you loved.
Memorial jewelry dates back centuries — at least as far back as ancient Rome. And jewelry made of bone, teeth, skin and even blood may well have been a type of memorial jewelry that predates recorded history.
During the Renaissance, rings were inscribed with the name and date of death and given to family members or close friends of the person who had died. The Georgian period saw the rise of Memento Mori jewelry, designed to remind people of their own mortality, but the popularity of mourning jewelry really reached its peak in the Victorian era.
Victorian mourning jewelry was often made of the hair of the person who had passed away, intricately woven into rings, pendants or bracelets. Mourning rings and lockets containing a loved one's photo were also very popular.
Today, memorial jewelry is making a comeback, with more options than ever. Fingerprint keepsakes are an excellent example. They are created using the deceased person's unique fingerprint, so that a loved one can keep this physical reminder for years. Cremation jewelry is another interesting option, in which a portion of a loved one's ashes are incorporated into a piece of jewelry. This allows the wearer to not only honor a deceased love one, but to feel close to that person long after the passing.
Cremation opens a wide range of possibilities for memorialization, from columbaria and niches to urns, memorial jewelry and even stunning pieces of art. At Valley of the Temples, we believe in the importance of memorializing a life well lived, and want to help you find the perfect way to honor your loved one. Call us at (808) 725-2798 or visit our website for more information.
The ancient Greek ‘Valley of the Temples’ at Akragas and the mysterious orientations
A few days ago we talked about how archaeologists might have located the ancient theater at Akragas, Sicily. Well a study conducted in 2015, by a team of Kiwi and Italian researchers, revealed the orientation of the ancient Greek monuments at the city’s famed Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples). Interestingly enough, the research invalidated the popular belief that these temples were originally built to face the sun and shows that, while some of them are indeed aligned with astronomical events like the full moon, there are others whose construction was influenced by an altogether different set of factors, such as urban planning.
Published on arXiv.org, the research was conducted by scientist Giulio Magli, in collaboration with Robert Hannah at New Zealand’s University of Waikato and Andrea Orlando of the Catania Astrophysical Observatory. In the study, the team thoroughly surveyed the Valley of the Temples, in order to determine the orientation of the ancient structures. Located in Akragas (or Agrigento) in the southern part of Italy, the site houses the remains of as many as 10 Doric shrines, each dedicated to a Greek god, goddess or hero, such as Juno, Heracles, Demeter and Persephone, Olympic Zeus, Vulcan, Concordia, Aesculapius and so on.
The Temple of Concordia at Sicily’s Valley of the Temples.
Built nearly 2,500 years ago, the temples were included in the list of World Heritage sites in 1997. While a lot has been speculated about their orientation over the years, the research is one of the first to attempt a thorough, constructive examination of these ancient monuments. According to the team, four among them are aligned in accordance with Akragas’ layout, with no connection whatsoever with the sun’s position. Speaking about the find, Magli, a professor of archaeoastronomy at the Polytechnic University in Milan, said:
Alignment was widely determined by urban layout and morphological aspects of the terrain as well as religious connections… For such temples, only a general rule imposing the facade towards the eastern horizon was applied. However, they were not orientated toward the rising sun on specific days of the year.
The Temple of Juno Lacinia, for instance, was built such that it faced the stars in the Delphinus constellation, while the Temple of Demeter and Persephone was found to be aligned with the setting full moon during winter solstice. The unfinished Temple of Zeus, believed to the largest Doric temple ever erected, was likely oriented in keeping with the town’s grid. Talking about the now-dilapidated Temple of Demeter and Persephone, Magli added:
One can only imagine the spectacle at the temple. The full moon near the winter solstice – the longest night of the year – culminates very high in the sky and remains in the sky the longest.
The Temple of Juno was aligned to the stars in the Delphinus constellation.
This temple is of special importance, since its architecture clearly points to a moon-based alignment. Situated inside a corridor, running along the side of the temple, are two uniquely-shaped circular altars, one of which contains a central well or bothros. During their survey, the researchers retrieved several broken pieces of kernoi, basically a type of ritual vessel used in the worship of Demeter, from the well. The temple also has a large artificially-constructed open area at the back. The team explained:
We can imagine a nocturnal procession coming up from the fountain sanctuary and reaching the temple, in front of which, however, there is not enough space to house worshipers. Then they gathered in the vast esplanade on the back of the temple. From there, they would have witnessed the spectacle of the full moon high over the hill of the acropolis.
Valley of the Temples in Agrigento
The rediscovery of Akragas began towards the end of the eighteenth century, when the first European travellers reached Sicily, discovering an unexpected and immense artistic, archaeological heritage.
In a almost enchanted valley, full of almond trees in bloom, it is the most impressive group of monuments of the Hellenic architecture in Sicily. The unique charm of this site is in this blend of cultural environment and natural landscape.
The Valley of the Temples is certainly the most important testimony of the ancient, classical culture of Sicily. It brings together the temples of gods goddesses as well as the area of the necropolis and sanctuaries outside the walls.
Tempio dei Dioscuri (Castore e Polluce) – ph. Paolo Barone
The temple of Castor and Pollux (Dioscuri), the legendary twin brothers, born from the union of Jupiter and the queen of Sparta, nowadays has only four columns left and has become the symbol of Agrigento.
Il gigante Telamone al Tempio di Zeus- Valle dei Templi – ph- Paolo Barone
The temple of Olympian Zeus (Jupiter) was built to thank Zeus on the occasion of the Agrigentines’ victory over the Carthaginians, in 480 BC . Here are the famous atlases, some gigantic statues with human shape, once used as columns o pilasters.
The Temple of Concordia, also built around the 5th century, is located along the via Sacra and is one as well of the best preserved temples. In the sixth century it was transformed into a sacred building. The name Concordia comes from a Latin inscription found near the temple itself.
Tempio della Concordia alla Valle dei Templi – ph. Paolo Barone
In front of the Temple, you can admire the statue of Icarus, donated by the Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj. The statue represents the Fall of Icarus, who disobeyed his father Daedalus, he flew too close to the sun, burned his wings of wax and fell into the Mediterranean.
Statua di Icaro caduto di Igor Mitoraj – ph. Paolo Barone
The temple of Heracles (Hercules) is the oldest one. Inside it kept a bronze statue of Hercules himself, which the Akragantines loved very much. The temple, destroyed by war and natural disasters, today has only eight columns left.
Il Tempio di Eracle (Ercole) alla Valle dei Templi – ph. Paolo Barone
The temple of Aesculapius was built far outside the ancient walls of the city, a place of pilgrimage for the sick who asked to be healed. The walls of the temple were covered by the words of the sick who obtained healing.
The tomb of Theron, near the Golden Gate, is an imposing pyramidal monument made of tuff stone. It was built in memory of the fallen of the Second Punic War.
The temple of Vulcano whose ruins suggests it once was an imposing building, dates back to the fifth century. In its foundations, the remains of an archaic temple were found.
Valle dei Templi ad Agrigento – ph. Paolo Barone
The temple of Juno (Hera Lakinia) – Its name, like that of the nearby Temple of Concordia, is conventional as a result of a wrong interpretation of a Latin inscription that aligns it with the temple of Hera, in Crotone. Placed spectacularly in the easternmost part of this magical hillside, it housed the cult of the goddess of fertility. The traces of fire, amazingly still visible in the walls of the cell, remind us of 406 B.C. when this magnificent temple, almost identical to that of Concordia, was destroyed by the Carthaginians. Nearby, there is also a clearly visible big altar for sacrifices (in the East side) and a section of street deeply furrowed by carts coming from the city’s “Gate III”.
audio tour della Valle dei Templi su izi.TRAVEL
UNESCO Lista del Patrimonio Mondiale dell’Umanità
A Brief History of Valley of the Temples Memorial Park
Paul Trousdale founded the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in 1963. Located in a unique area of the Windward side of Oahu, our cemetery is home to wildlife such as Japanese koi and wild peacocks, and is surrounded by mountains that overlook the ocean. Our gardens pay homage to many faiths, including Christianity and Buddhism. We have built a replica of Japan’s 950-year-old Byodo-In Temple. Made of concrete, this temple was completed in 1968 to honor the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants arriving to Hawaii. Our professional, compassionate staff has years of experience caring for families from all walks of life.
To experience the serenity and peace of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park Oahu, visit us today for a tour of our grounds. For help in funeral pre-planning or to learn more about our cemetery arrangements, call us at (808) 239-8811 or check out our website.
In the Valley of the Temples it's possible to admire the remains of ten doric order temples, three sanctuaries, a large number of necropolis, fortifications, water projects and part of a Roman – Hellenic district, two agoras, one Olympeion and one Bouleuterion (council house). The remains of a Greek theatre were also found in 2016.
Moreover, it's possible to admire the Tomb of Theron - the tyrant who helped Akragas grow - a large tuff monument of pyramidal shape.
To feel magnificence of the ancient Greek civilization deep inside, we suggest you to take a walk through this hypnotic and charming place right close to the twilight when you'll see the burning sunbeams breaking through the columns of the Temples. The location turns to mystical and dreamy and you can take a slow walk enjoying the silence of this stunning wide open space.
Please note that in the Regional Archaeological Museum “P. Griffo” in Contrada San Nicola are collected 5688 relics illustrating the history of Agrigento – Akragas territory from prehistory to the end of Roman-Greek times.
Here’s our guide on how you can make the most of your visit to the Valley of Temples in Sicily.
A bit on the history of Agrigento
Akragas (now Agrigento) started by being one of the most important Greek cities in Sicily. It was during this period (5th century BC) that the city saw rapid growth and many of the Doric temples were built.
Then came the period of Roman history when the city was called Agrigentum. Because of its strategic location, Agrigento had always been an important seat of power for supremacy in the Mediterranean. In a tussle for this supremacy, Agrigento got involved in the Punic wars between Romans and Carthaginians.
After the Roman period, Agrigento came under the influence of many others including those of Byzantines and Arabs. In medieval times and until 1927, it was called Girgenti. The name Agrigento was adopted later to honor the city’s Roman history.
What is Agrigento’s Valle dei Templi?
Valley of Temples is the name given to the archaeological site within the city. The name “valley” is actually a misnomer because the site is located on a ridge forming the southern end of the city.
However, you can see a lush green valley between the old site and modern Agrigento. The valley is also where a good part of the ancient city of Akragas was located. Agrigento Valle dei Templi is often an integral part of any Italian road trip in Sicily. And we will see why.
Looking for more stops for your road trip? Check out these 18 beautiful cultural destinations in Sicily.
Valle dei Templi in Agrigento contains the ruins of seven important temples and various other remains. A quick look around is enough to convince you that this is one of the largest and most significant Greek ruins outside of Greece. Here’s my pick on what you should not miss.
Temple of Concordia – a must-see on your visit to Agrigento Valle dei Templi
The temple of Concordia is one of the best-preserved temples not only in Agrigento but also across all ancient Greek sites in the world.
It was built in the 5th century BC but converted to a Christian church somewhere in the 6th century AD. That is one of the reasons why it still stands tall today.
The temple consists of Doric columns, 6 each in the front and rear and 13 on each side. An interesting feature of this temple is the presence of stairs that lead all the way to the roof. Entry inside the temple is not allowed.
Right outside the temple is a huge but fallen statue of Icarus. This was part of an exhibition of Polish artist Igor Mitoraj in 2011 and is the only remnant of it.
The Temple of Concordia – An absolute must-see on your trip to Agrigento’s Valle dei Templi
Temple of Heracles or Hercules
The temple of Heracles is believed to be the oldest temple in the valley and most of it is in ruins. 8 columns have been restored and they present an impressive sight.
Temple of Juno or Hera
The temple of Juno was built sometime in the middle of the 5th century BC. It is similar in size to the temple of Concordia and both are often referred to as twins.
However, not much remains of this temple. Only the Doric columns survive. There is no roof. It is fascinating to capture the silhouette of this temple against the golden rays of the sun.
Temple of the Dioscuri – the prettiest at Agrigento’s Valle dei Templi
This temple, dedicated to the Dioscuri twins of Castor and Pollux, is regarded as the symbol of Agrigento. It is actually the most common image of Agrigento Valle dei Templi that you will ever see.
Today, you can see four columns assembled together as a modern reconstruction of the ancient temple. Look carefully to see remains of white stucco on the columns. The temples, with stucco all over them, would have made a pretty sight in their heyday.
- Remains of white stucco at the Temple of Dioscuri
Temple of Olympian Zeus
This temple complex was supposed to be the biggest one in Agrigento’s Valley of Temples and the biggest Greek temple ever constructed. However, it was never completed on account of the Punic wars.
Each column is believed to have been 55 feet tall. You can also see a replica of a telamon (column carved in the shape of a man) lying at the temple site. The original telamon is at the archaeological museum. The Telamon is only 25 ft – less than half the size of the columns. You can now imagine what a beast the temple of Olympian Zeus was going to be.
The structure suffered great damage during the war with the Carthaginians and then subsequently, due to earthquakes. What remains of the temple today is only a pile of jumbled stones.
A Telamon – An interesting sight at Agrigento Valle dei Templi
Early Christian Necropolises
Agrigento is also home to late-ancient and early-medieval Christian necropolises that have been cut out of rocks. They are right beside the Temple of Concordia.
You can also check out our day trip to the Etruscan necropolises of Tarquinia from an ancient civilization that predated the Romans.
Intriguing Christian necropolises at Agrigento Valle dei Templi
Archaeological Museum of Agrigento
Visit Agrigento’s Museo Archeologico Regionale or “Pietro Griffo” to see beautiful Greek pottery and the original Telamon, a replica of which you saw at the temple of Olympian Zeus.
The museum is divided into 18 rooms and consists of numerous archaeological artifacts from the excavations at the Valley of Temples.
Tickets & Opening Hours of Agrigento Valle dei Templi
Below are the different ticket options that you can choose from. You can also book your tickets online at the official website of CoopCulture.
Only Valley of Temples
- Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 8:00 pm (every day), the ticket office closes an hour before.
- Ticket Price: €10 per person
- Free entry: First Sunday of every month
- Special events are held at the site many-a-time. Do check out their official website before making your plans.
Only Archaeological Museum
- Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (Monday – Saturday), 9:00 – 1:00 pm (Sundays and public holidays)
- Ticket Price: €8 per person
Combined Valley of Temples and Archaeological Museum
- Opening Hours: same as above
- Ticket Price: €13.50 per person
Best time to visit Agrigento’s Valley of Temples
You can visit Agrigento throughout the year. However, it can get really hot during the summers. The heat can tire you out and there isn’t much shade around. Remember to carry your sunscreen, a hat, and sufficient water.
How to get to Agrigento Valle dei Templi?
You can get to Agrigento either by car, bus, or train. If you are planning to spend more than one day in Catania, Palermo, or Selinunte, then you can easily do day trips from any of these towns.
The closest airport is that of Palermo. So, if you are flying in, the best option is to get to Palermo. With so many things to do in Palermo, you can easily spend a day or two here. Or you can simply take a bus from the airport or a train from the train station to get to Agrigento.
Once you have arrived in Agrigento, you can take one of the city buses or a taxi to get to the Valley of Temples. You can also choose to walk if you can bear the Sicilian sun. The walk takes around 30-40 minutes. For details on bus and trains, refer to this guide on traveling to and within Agrigento.
A Walk Through the Winsome Pathways of Oahu’s Valley of the Temples
The chiseled Koʻolau mountains, trying to look rugged but failing because of the luxuriant carpet of multi-textured greenery that clings to the steep slopes, form a stunning backdrop for the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park.
See a Replica of Japan’s Byodo-In Temple of Equality
Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Chuck Painter.
Located near Kaneohe, the park is dominated by a majestic Byodo-In Temple. The temple is a replica of the magnificent 900-year-old Byodo-In Temple of Equality in Japan. The original stands in Uji on the outskirts of Kyoto. The Oahu replica was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to Hawaii.
Explore the Valley of the Temples Lush Grounds
Photo: Hawaii.com Member Fred R.
The temple is graced by two acres of ponds stocked with several hundred Japanese carp, brightly feathered peacocks, black swans and other wildlife. An 18-foot meditation Buddha stands above the quiet scene. And a 3-ton temple bell threatens to dispel the stillness, for good luck comes to those who are able to ring it.
Valley of the Temples
The Sicilian town of Agrigento was an important Greek colony in the 6th century BC and today it has some of the best preserved Greek remains outside of Greece itself. The Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi) contains a number of ruined temples in a spectacular countryside setting.
Temple of Concordia
Due to its good state of preservation, the Temple of Concordia is ranked amongst the most notable edifices of the Greek civilization existing today. It has a peristasis of 6 x 13 columns built over a basement of 39.44 x 16.91 m each Doric column has twenty grooves and a slight entasis, and is surmounted by an architrave with triglyphs and metopes also perfectly preserved are the tympani. The cella, preceded by a pronaos, is accessed by a single step also existing are the pylons with the stairs which allowed to reach the roof and, over the cella's walls and in the blocks of the peristasis entablature, the holes for the wooden beam of the ceiling. The exterior and the interior of the temple were covered by polychrome stucco. The upper frame had gutters with lion-like protomes, while the roof was covered by marble tiles.
When the temple was turned into a church the entrance was moved to the rear, and the rear wall of the cella was destroyed. The spaces between the columns were closed, while 12 arched openings were created in the cella, in order to obtain a structure with one nave and two aisles. The pagan altar was destroyed and sacristies were carved out in the eastern corners. The sepultures visible inside and outside the temple date to the High Middle Age.
Temple of Hera Lacinia
This temple was constructed on a mostly artificial spur. It dates to c. 450 BC, measuring 38.15 x 16.90 m: it is in Doric style, peripteros six columns wide by thirteen long, preceded by a pronaos and opisthodomos. The basement has four steps.
Current remains (including anastylosis from the 18th century onwards) consist of the front colonnade with parts of the architrave and of the frieze. Only fragments of the other three sides survive, with few elements of the cella. The building was damaged in the fire of 406 BC and restored in Roman times, with the substitution of marble tiles with ones of clay, and the addition of a steep rise in the area where today can be seen the remains of the altar.
Nearby are arcosolia and other sepultures from Byzantine times, belonging to the late 6th century AD renovation of the Temple of Concordia into a Christian church.
Temple of Asclepius
The small temple, probably dating to the late 5th century BC and measuring 21.7 x 10.7 m, rises over a basement with three steps. Its peculiarity is the fake opysthodomus with two semi-columns in the external side of the rear cella. Also extant are parts of the entablature, with lion-like protomes, a frieze and a geison pediment.
The sanctuary housed a bronze statue of Apollo by Myron, a gift to the city by Scipio, which was stolen by Verres.
Temple of Heracles
Stylistically, the temple belongs to the last years of the 6th century BC. It has been also suggested that this temple was one of the first built under Theron. Also the entablature, of which parts have been found, would date it to the 470-460s or the middle 5th century BC (though the more recent remains could be a replacement of the older ones). One hypothesis is that the temple was begun before the Battle of Himera, to be completed only in the following decades. Polyaenus mentions a temple of Athena being built under Theron outside the city, which could be identified with that of "Hercules", though also with a new one in the inner acropolis.
The building, with 20th-century anastylosis, measures 67 x 25.34 m, with a peristasis of 6 x 15 Doric columns and a cella with pronaos and opysthodomus, is located over a three-step basement. It is the first example (later become common in the Agrigento temples) of pylons inserted between the pronaos and cella, housing the stair which allowed inspections of the roof. The columns are rather high and have wide capitals. On the eastern side are remains of the large altar.
On the other side of the road running through the Golden Gate of the ancient city, is a plain commanded by the huge Olympeion field. This includes a platea with a large temple to Olympian Zeus, plus other areas still under investigation. These include a sanctuary, with remains of a paved square, a complex sacellum ("holy enclosure") and a tholos. This, after another gate, is followed by a sanctuary of chthonic deities, an archaic sanctuary, the so-called colimbetra (where was a still unknown gate) and the tip of the spur where the sanctuary is located, with the temple of Vulcan.
The Olympeion complex's main attraction is the huge temple of Olympian Zeus, which was described with enthusiastic words by Diodorus Siculus and mentioned by Polybius. Today it is reduced to ruins due to destruction begun in antiquity and continued through the 18th century, when the temple was used as a quarry for the port of Porto Empedocle.
The Valley of the Temples Offers Tranquility, Culture and History
The Valley of the Temples Memorial Park is home to the beautiful Byodo-In Buddhist Temple, modeled after one with the same name in Japan. Within this lush valley lies a cemetery dedicated to many denominations, eastern and western alike.
Echoing this multiple focus are the valley's landscaping and structures. Oahu's Asian temple is surrounded by peacocks, black swans, streams, koi ponds and serene plantings. It was built to honor the arrival of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii and features an enormous brass bell, whose low tones echo through the peaceful valley when offerings are made.
Meanwhile, a Christian chapel is perched on a hill in the valley, and both structures provide quiet places for meditation.
The temple looks mystical on an overcast day &mdash Photo courtesy of Patrick Malone
The Byodo-In Temple is located at the base of the lush Koolau Mountains in Valley in Kaneohe, on the eastern side of Oahu. It's roughly a 45-minute drive from both the North Shore and Honolulu. It was established in 1968 to honor the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.
The temple is a smaller version of the Byodo-in Temple in Japan, which is over 950 years old it's also a United Nations World Heritage Site.
The temple's grounds are often utilized for weddings for locals, as well as visitors from Japan. It's a non-practicing temple, welcoming people from all faiths to relax, worship or meditate on the grounds.
The acreage is beautifully landscaped, serving as a home to various birds and fish ponds. Children love exploring the grounds and watching the animals.
The golden Buddha &mdash Photo courtesy of Daniel Ramirez
The temple is home to Amida, a golden Buddha that is thought to be the largest one carved out of Japan. Standing at over nine feet tall, the huge figure was carved by Masuzo Inui, a respected Japanese sculptor. A gold lacquer covered the Buddha, which was then covered in gold leaf.
Surrounding the base of the Buddha are 52 smaller sculptures depicting Boddhisattvas (enlightened beings), floating on clouds, dancing and playing musical instruments.
Also on the property is the Bell House, called kanetru-ki-do. The five-foot-tall, three-ton brass bell, called a bon-sho ("sacred bell"), was cast in Osaka, Japan, from a mixture of bronze and tin. The bell is very similar to one over 900 years old, and it's hanging in an identical bell house at the temple in Japan.
It is tradition to ring the bell before entering the temple in order to spread the teaching of Buddha, as well as to purify the mind of evil spirits and temptation. It's believed that ringing the bell will bring visitors happiness, blessings and a long life.