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Northern Sardinia: the most important archaeological remains

Published on 2 November 2018 by clicksardegna

Sardinia, a thousand-year-old enchanted land

The island is a truly evocative and particular land, surrounded by a crystalline sea and beaches that the whole world envies. But beyond that it is possible to admire in Sardinia the remains of ancient monumental constructions that make the island a destination for numerous scholars and archeology enthusiasts. The major archaeological sites of Sardinia include the Roman ruins, the Phoenician Punic and other important historical testimonies of the various peoples who have colonized this enchanted land over the years. By organizing a holiday in the North-West, starting from Alghero we can go as far as Castelsardo, visiting some of the most fascinating archaeological ruins. All sites can be visited either through guided tours, either on their own initiative or even taking advantage of the event that takes place in May, Monumenti Aperti (Open Monuments), where school children illustrate all the monuments.

The nuragic complex of Palmavera and Sant’Imbenia

In the bay that the Romans called the port of the Nymphs, in the territory of Alghero, precisely inside the Park of Porto Conte, there is a village dating back almost four thousand years, one of the most important that the Sardinian nuragic civilization left us as an inheritance . The Palmavera complex is located on the homonymous promontory and is a kilometer and a half from the sea. It is built with blocks of limestone and sandstone, characterized by a central body with two towers and accompanied by an arch and huts of a village that originally were between 150 or 200, but today we can admire only 50. It was built in more phases. The main tower dates from the first (XV-XIV century BC). At a later stage (IX century BC) another tower was added, connected to the first through a courtyard and a corridor. In addition, the large meeting hut was built. Inside, the round seat of the head. During the third phase (IX-VIII century BC), a perimeter wall with four towers was erected. This marvelous village was destroyed by fire and repopulated in the Punic and Roman times.

Surrounding Palmavera is articulated a practicable mountain bike path, through which continue the journey through history. In the bay of Porto Conte, in fact, called by the Romans portus Nympharum, it is possible to visit another nuragic site: Sant’Imbenia dating back to the XV-VIII century. a.C., the most ancient Phoenician seaport of the island. A short distance away are the remains of a Roman villa, built for the owner’s otium, surrounded by a large estate. It consists of a residence with decorated rooms and service areas and to the north there are the remains of a thermal plant.

The nuragic Palmavera complex

Necropolis of Anghelu Ruju

The necropolis of Anghelu Ruju, the largest and most important prehistoric in northern Sardinia, is always located in the territory of Alghero, about 9 km from the sea, in a fertile plain crossed by the Rio Filibertu. The necropolis consists of 38 domus de janas (or fairy houses) excavated in the sandstone and arranged in two complexes. The small caves, variously oriented, seem to be arranged in an orderly manner. They have very articulated plans, while only one is single-celled. The whole complex constituted the place where the funeral ceremonies were carried out. Anghelu Ruju is a sacred place, it is a special, evocative place that you can visit with tranquility, being surprised by its history and its beauty. It is a place with particular colors that we recommend to visit in the evening, at sunset, to be enchanted by its beauty. Below is the link with timetables and prices for visits

Mount d’Accoddi and Necropolis of Su Crocifissu Mannu

Continuing towards Sassari it is possible to visit the temple of mount d’Accoddi, dating back to about five thousand years ago. It is a unique ziqqurat in Europe for singularities of architectural types. It was discovered in the mid-twentieth century, digging a small hill that looked artificial in the middle of a plain. In reality, it was a pyramid-shaped altar covered with earth, perhaps dedicated to a female deity, carved in a granite stela next to the monument. The particularity lies therefore in the fact that the ziqqurat is the temple of the Sun, but in this case it was dedicated to the Moon. The altar is the superposition of two phases, that of the ‘red temple‘, in the final Neolithic and the subsequent of the ‘stepped temple‘, dating back to the Eneolithic era. Eroded by time and looters, the sacred environment remains floor and remains of a perimeter wall. But despite the few ruins that can still be visited, it is advisable to dedicate a few hours of their time to admire these remains rich in history and culture.

Along the road that leads from Sassari to Porto Torres, near the Altar of Monte d’Accoddi is an imposing Necropolis, called Su Crocifissu Mannu, with 22 tombs, dating back to the period between the fourth and third millennium A.C. You walk on a very large funerary area: under our feet there are dozens of graves. The rooms of some are clearly visible from above, as the collapses of the ceilings have freed the area. According to tradition, this complex was also used by the Romans to transport their materials for the construction of the nearby city of Porto Torres, at the time Turris Libisonis. So what appears before our eyes is something extraordinary, typical of the spectacular nature of this beautiful land that houses all these remains.


The elephant rock

Certainly very suggestive and not to be missed is the Rock of the Elephant, in the territory of Castelsardo. It is a millenary natural rock dating back to 5000 A.C. eroded by time and wind millenarians. The Rock consists of a single volcanic rock called “trachyte and andesite“. The figure that today represents is that of a seated elephant, the result of millennial erosion. This complex re-enters with honor in the archaeological area thanks to its two internal chambers commonly called “Domus de Janas“, certainly excavated by the ancient Shardana (Sardinian people) and used either as a dwelling or as a ritual temple. The Elephant Rock has also recently entered the list of “objects out of time“. The landscape that it offers is quite suggestive, in fact it overlooks a sheer valley that gives us a breathtaking view, between the green and the gray of the rocks and the emerald of the sea.

The elephant rock in Castelsardo

Santu Antine nuragic palace

To conclude, always in the province of Sassari, precisely in the municipality of Torralba in the historical region of Meilogu we have another testimony of the Nuragic civilization, the nuragic complex of Santu Antine. The Nuraghe of the monumental complex dates back to the fifteenth century. a.C, is at the base of the whole settlement system of the Valley of Nuraghi and can be defined as the synthesis and the apogee of the architecture of the nuraghic age. At the foot of the nuraghe lies the nuragic village, highlighted only in part by excavations. The nuraghe, also called Sa domo de su Re, in English the house of the King, is one of the most important of Sardinian civilization. Its importance, however, derives from the fact that the original height of the central tower reached a size between 22 and 24 meters, the highest for that period after the Egyptian pyramids and the keep of the Arrubiu nuragic royal palace, which measured between 25 and 30 meters. However, it represents an example of megalithic architecture.

Nuraghe Santu Antine of Torralba-St. Constantin

The Sanna Museum of Sassari

All the remains of almost all the archaeological sites mentioned above can be admired and appreciated in one of the most important museums in Sardinia, the Sanna Museum of Sassari. It is located inside a building that recalls a classical temple, built in the early twentieth century, in the center of Sassari. The exhibits are exhibited in 7 symmetrical rooms and cover a period of time ranging from prehistory to the classical age. The richest and most suggestive section is dedicated to the Nuraghic era. When the Museum was opened, it started with 250 items from the private collection of the Montevecchio Sanna Mining Dealer, and over the years the museum complex became one of the most important and renowned in Sardinia. Here is the link with the opening hours of the museum and telephone contacts

Category: Holiday Ideas
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