Akragas was founded in 580 BC by Greek colonists from nearby Gela (Sicily) who had come from Rhodes a hundred years earlier.  Akragas flourished from its manufacture of fine wine, olives and horses. It had a population of about 200,000 in the 5th century BC when the temple of Castor and Pollux was constructed.

In 406 BC, Akragas was beseiged for eight months by the Carthaginians, who eventually defeated the inhabitants and razed the city, purposefully burning the temples. The city was rebuilt after Timoleon defeated Carthage in 340 BC, but it would never regain its original glory. The Romans took Akragas in 210 BC, and it remained a Roman city (Agrigentum) until the fall of the empire.

 The peripteral temple dates from 450-400 BC with 6 x 13 columns.  The name, Castor & Pollux (Dioscuri) is only traditional, the original dedication is unknown. The Doric temple was built using tufaceous conchitic limestone. Much of the excavation and restoration of the temples was done by the archaeologist Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta from 1809 through 1812. The archaeological park, called "Valley of the Temples," is the largest archaeological site in the world, and is located on a ridge outside the present town of Agrigento.