1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Girgenti

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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 84½ 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 sides 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 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, 5½ 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.)