Gela(redirected from Gêla)
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a city in southern Italy, on the island of Sicily in the province of Caltanissetta. It is a port (with a freight turnover in 1969 of 6.6 million tons) on the Gulf of Gela of the Mediterranean Sea. Population, 65,300 (1969). In Gela are petroleum refineries and petrochemical plants, as well as manufacturers of sulfuric acid and fertilizer, which make use of oil, natural gas, and sulfur extracted locally.
Gela was founded in approximately 690 B.C. by the Rhodians and Cretans; in the classical age it was given the name Gela. In the early fifth century B.C. under the tyrants Cleander, Hippocrates, and Gelon, it was the strongest city-state in Sicily and conquered the eastern half of the island. Gelon conquered Syracuse and transferred his capital there, so that after 485 B.C., Gela fell into decay. In 282 B.C. it was destroyed by the Mamertini (Campanian mercenaries). Frederick II founded the city of Terranova di Sicilia on the site of ancient Gela in 1230, and this name was retained until 1927.
Remnants of an ancient Greek acropolis (sixth century B.C.), with a temple of Athena, have been preserved in Gela, as well as traces of a regular plan of the town from the fourth century B.C. with remains of fortifications, a bath house, and other buildings. The Church of San Biagio and a castle from the 14th century are there. Gela has a national archaeological museum.