Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Southern Sardinia

When we were checking out of the hotel in the morning the guy at reception asked where were going today. When we showed him on the map that we intended to visit the Nuraghi archaeological site near Barumini he insisted that the best way to get there was to take the highway south and then double back to Nuraghi Su Nuraxi. We shouldn’t have listened, the highway was fast but boring and we got tied up in road works.

The archaeological site itself was very interesting. The Nuraghi were the people who inhabited Sardinia 3,000 years ago. They had relatively advanced building construction techniques for what was then the Bronze Age and there are remains of about 7,000 examples of their buildings on the island.
At this site there is a central 3 storey tower, though the top storey is missing, with four 2 storey towers at the cardinal points around it and a connecting wall between them, so when built it looked similar to a medieval castle of over 2,000 years later. They know it had ramparts around the top of the outer wall and the central tower because during excavations in the 1950s they found a scale model in clay that showed the original shape of the tower and explained the purpose of the shaped cantilever rocks that they had found, which served as supports for the ramparts. Outside the fortress are the remains of a closely built village of houses with up to seven rooms. Every room and tower is circular in shape and reduces in diameter as it gets taller. The towers were built of volcanic basalt for their full height, so they are a tall beehive shape, but the rooms of the houses had dwarf rock walls topped by a wood and thatch dome roof with a central open space. Life must have been pretty desperate 3,000 years ago if the people had to go to such great lengths to construct a complex stone fort to protect themselves and their food stores from their neighbouring tribes.

It cost 9 euros each for a tour which was conducted in Italian and English. Well worth the money.

After a coffee in a nearby café we took the country lanes to Cagliari though very pleasant undulating scenery with many olive groves and masses of beautiful wild flowers on the road verges and in the many of the fields; mainly red poppies, tall yellow daisies and a purple flower of some sort. Looking for a lunch stop we passed through many villages but they had shut down for their noon to 4.00 pm lunch break. Eventually found a supermarket that was open and bought some pre-packed sandwiches which we ate in the shade of the awning of a closed café in a small park.
Continued on our way to Cagliari where the plan was to buy a ticket for an overnight ferry to Sicily.

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