Girgenti - Encyclopedia

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GIRGENTI (anc. Agrigentum, q.v.), a town of Sicily, capital of the province which bears its name, and an episcopal see, on the south coast, 58 m. S. by E. of Palermo direct and 841 m. by rail. Population (1901) 25,024. The town is built on the western summit of the ridge which formed the northern portion of the ancient site; the main street runs from E. to W. on the level, but the side streets are steep and narrow. The cathedral occupies the highest point in the town; it was not founded till the 13th century, taking the place of the so-called temple of Concord. The campanile still preserves portions of its original architecture, but the interior has been modernized. In the chapter-house a famous sarcophagus, with scenes illustrating the myth of Hippolytus, is preserved. There are other scattered remains of 13th-century architecture in the town, while, in the centre of the ancient city, close to the so-called oratory of Phalaris, is the Norman church of S. Nicolo. A small museum in. the town contains vases, terra-cottas, a few sculptures, &c. The port of Girgenti, s1 m. S.W. by rail, now known as Porto Empedocle (population in 1901, 11,529), as the principal place of shipment for sulphur, the mining district beginning immediately north of Girgenti. (T. As.)

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