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Gela (CL)

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Gela (Caltanissetta Province) is 82 km from Caltanissetta, alt. 46 m, near the River Gela, area 277.4 sq km, pop. 73, 763, post-code 93012, tel. 0934. Economy: agriculture (cereals, cotton, vegetables, fruit); handicraft (terracotta); various industries (oil-refining, wine, building); tourism.

A Dorian colony founded in 689 BC by the Rhodians of Antiphemus and the Cretans of Euthymus, Gela itself founded Agrigento. Hippocrates, who in 492 BC succeeded his brother Cleander, the first tyrant of Gela, and fought and defeated Siracusans at Halorus obtaining Kamarina from them. The tyrant Gelon, who was of Deinomenid descendent, did even better: he conquered Siracusa and moved there with most of his people.

After the fall of the Deinomenids (466 BC) Gela began to flourish again. It allied with Siracusa against Athens and with Agrigento against the Carthaginians, who however destroyed both cities. After nearly a century (Age of Timoleon), the city rebuilt its walls and began to expand. When it was later destroyed in 282 BC by the Mamertines, the inhabitants moved to nearby Licata, a domain of Agrigento.

In Roman and Medieval times, the people of Gela and its surrounded countryside probably led humble lives as farmers and sheperds.

The new town was founded in 1230 by Frederick II of Swabia, on the same site as the old town, with the name of Terranuova.

In the 15th century it was ceded by the crown and it became a fief: it spread moderately until the middle of this century, when the discovery of petroleum, with its associated industries, together with excessive and uncontrolled urbanization, changed the whole appearance of the town, and certainly not for the better.

Of interest: Molina a Vento; Capo Soprano; Archeological Museum of Gela; greek fortifications (on the west tip of Capo Soprano).

Churches (Piazza Armerina Diocese) include the following:
Maria SS. Assunta in Cielo (Chiesa Madre; 18th century)
Beata Vergine del Monte Carmelo
Chiesa di San Guiseppe (14th century, historic)
Maria SS. delle Grazie
Regina Pacis
S. Antonio di Padova
S. Domenico Savio
S. Francesco d'Assisi
S. Giacomo Maggiore
S. Giovanni Evangelista
S. Lucia
S. Maria di Betlemme
S. Rocco
S. Sebastiano Martire
Sacro Cuore di Gesu'

Links to other sites about Gela include:
Ancient Sicily
Italian Wikipedia
Italian Towns
Italian Postal Codes
Sicily Web
Sicilian Net

My latest book on CD is titled Sicily - A Reference for Researchers and is now available. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

Order Italy Kathy Kirkpatrick

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© Kathy Kirkpatrick 1997-2008