Mysteries of Sardinia
Nuragi is one of those mysterious ancient structures that scientists have been arguing about for centuries.
Nuragi is one of those mysterious ancient structures that scientists have been arguing about for centuries. Who lived in the gigantic stone buildings of Sardinia more than three thousand years ago? And why did the inhabitants leave in the III century BC, filling the ground with nuragi? If you are attracted to the mysteries of history, a trip to Sardinia cannot do without visiting the nuragas.
A typical nurag is a gigantic stone tower in the form of a truncated cone, which can reach 20 meters in height. The building has no foundation, and it holds only due to the total mass of its own stones, masterfully fitted by ancient architects. Nuragi were built on the plains with a panoramic view, and even from afar you can see the dark gray fortress, which resembles a giant hive. An unforgettable experience awaits you inside. Even on the hottest days, these structures retain their shade and coolness. The massive steps of the stone stairs were polished to a shine by those who lived here many centuries ago. And it becomes clear that the inhabitants of ancient Sardinia clearly did not suffer from excess weight, otherwise they would simply not be able to squeeze into cramped passages! Outwardly, the nuragas look rather unpretentious, but archaeologists say that the internal structure of the tower can compete with the medieval cathedral in the complexity of architecture. , dwellings of ordinary people, residences of rulers, military fortifications, meeting places of leaders or religious cults - these are just some versions of the appointment of nurags. And when even scientists cannot come to a common opinion, legends certainly appear.
Mysterious towersTo date, about 8 thousand nurags have been discovered on the island, but archaeologists claim that this is not the limit. Every year in Sardinia, more and more stone towers are found, and it is believed that once their number could reach 30 thousand. Nurages are most often found in the northwestern and central parts of the island.The most famous of the Sardinian nuragas are Su-Nuraxi in Barumini, Santo Antin in Torralba, Serra Orrios in Dorgali, Loza in Abbasanta, S'Uraki in San Vero Milis , Arrubiu in Orroli. If you go on a tour of the Nuragas, you will find out that in the second millennium BC, the land of Sardinia was divided among the many clans that were at war with each other. Each of the clans claimed leadership, and military art became more and more perfect over the years. And, of course, the need arose for towers and fortresses. It is believed that the powerful stone structures of the Nuragi, which later gave the name of the ancient civilization of Sardinia - the Nuragian - are believed to have been built precisely for protection. The word "nurag", as scientists say, means "through the hill." These hills, which reach a height of up to 20 meters, are indeed permeated through air wells. The towers are made of stone blocks and have the shape of a truncated pyramid. Be sure to walk along the narrow corridors of the nurag and pay attention to the size of the stones: it gradually decreases as the height of the tower increases. The first question that comes to mind: how did these arches build? Of course, in the second millennium BC, there was no question of using cement, and therefore the ancient builders could only rely on the virtuoso selection of stones. Only the weight and scrupulously calculated arrangement of stones do not allow massive walls to collapse. In addition, in order to achieve balance, the inhabitants of ancient Sardinia used different types of stones - granite, limestone, basalt, tuff. In order for the stones to be pressed against each other as tightly as possible, some surfaces were carefully trimmed to fit the outlines of neighboring stones, other blocks were left untreated. To build a tower in the form of a cone, the ancient builders laid the foundation in an even circle, and each next row shifted slightly to the center.You will have to climb several times and go down the steep stairs to get into the most capacious round room located at the base of the tower. Most scientists believe that it was intended for protection. In some nuragas there were several such rooms at once, they hung one above the other and were connected by narrow staircases and passages.
Stone villageNurag is usually surrounded by a labyrinth village, also built of stone. Small round huts were so close to each other that the streets between them were not wider than one meter. The dimensions of the ancient houses were also quite modest - from 5 to 6 meters in diameter. But the family could consist of 9-10 people! Scientists believe that in stone houses, where women spent most of their time, magical rites were performed, promising family well-being. For example, the bones of rodents and birds were considered excellent protection against various misfortunes. They were burned in the hearth, and then buried as amulets. And if the war started, then all the inhabitants of the stone village (and there could be up to 600 people) took refuge inside the tower, helping to defend themselves from enemies.
Contrary to scienceBut, if you manage to talk with someone from the locals, you will hear a completely different story, which, as a rule, is not mentioned by the guides. It turns out that there is another version of the origin and destination of the nurags. And her supporters are sure that those who once built huge stone fortresses were not going to fight. On the contrary, the nuragas erected for mystical rituals and meditations. It is believed that the fortresses were intended primarily for female mystical cults, because it was not for nothing that during the excavations many female statuettes of stone and bronze were discovered. And then it turns out that inside the Nurags there lived not warriors, but women who devoted themselves to religious service. And around, in a stone labyrinth, pilgrims settled in from afar. Then it becomes clear why the round stone huts were so small and the streets between them were so narrow: those who came for a short time needed very little space. In favor of this version says that among the stone labyrinth of Sardinian nurags there is certainly a cone-shaped room with round hole in the ceiling. Once a year - June 21, on the day of the summer solstice - the Sun is in a certain position and its light literally floods the room. To this day, women from different parts of Italy gather in many nuragas to meditate in a stream of sunlight, and when you make your way through narrow inner stairs or find yourself alone in a cramped room with no windows, the mystical version of the origin of nuragas seems quite plausible.
Su Nuraxi in BaruminiThis is the most impressive nurag of all found in Sardinia, which in 1997 was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Excavations here began in 1950, and a beautiful complex was discovered. In its center is a three-story tower, built around the 15th century BC. e., and surrounds her intricate labyrinth of walls, destroyed almost to the ground. We have only reached the outlines of a stone village and small houses. But the huge bowls for water hollowed out of solid stone have been perfectly preserved. What is it - cult vessels or ordinary household items? One can only guess. Su-Nuraxi is also known for the fact that a bronze model of nurag was discovered here, thanks to which we know what stone towers looked like in ancient centuries. But here the opinions of scientists differ again. Someone claims that the nurag model was symbolic for local shrines. Others are sure that this is just a children's toy. Other treasures discovered during excavations are small bronze figures of warriors, ships and figurines of the mother goddess or priestess. Now they are stored in the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari, the capital of the island of Sardinia. If you want to get a complete picture of the Nurag culture, you should definitely look here. At the same time, take a stroll through the historic center of Cagliari, admire the medieval towers and cathedrals.
End of the Nurag eraIn the III century BC, the nuraga began to empty. Surprisingly, before leaving the gigantic fortress, the residents walled up all the entrances with stone slabs, and then covered the fortress with earth. And although some scholars are skeptical of such a burial place of Nurags, the fact remains: all the ancient fortresses discovered in Sardinia were found in mounds of the same shape. Nuragi hid in high hills with a flat area on top. Why the ancient structures were hidden is still a mystery. And besides, scientists can only guess where such an amount of land came from for conservation, because no pits were found near the nuraghes. Does this mean that the earth was brought from somewhere? But how was this done and why? Who, after all, were the people who inhabited these mighty structures? And where did they go in the 3rd century BC? Researchers do not give intelligible answers to these questions. And for tourists, the mysterious nuraga are becoming more and more attractive.
Where to stayIn Barumini, not far from the nuragic complex of Su-Nuraxi, one of the largest in Sardinia, the small cozy hotel Su Nuraxi is located. Here you can stay for a couple of days in order to slowly explore the ancient fortress and take a walk around the surroundings. Or confine yourself to a dinner of traditional Sardinian dishes and desserts, which, of course, will offer you incomparable local wines.
Useful addresses• Forlì Airport - Italy: