Barumini – the Nuraghi
The nuragic complex of Barumini is located in the province of Medio Campidano and is the symbol of Sardinia of the great stone monuments: a suggestive and mysterious place to visit. The site includes the best preserved specimen of all Sardinian nuraghi: the village of Barumini which, due to its peculiarity, has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
The nuraghi were mostly defensive towers in the shape of a truncated cone made with large dry boulders, equipped with internal rooms. The word “nuraghe”, which means “pile of stones” and “cavity”, indicates a type of military architecture with turreted walls. Their function was strictly military: they served, in fact, to defend the surrounding territory. The main material used for its construction is basalt, a very hard volcanic stone.
The village of Barumini, dominated by a majestic central nuraghe called “Su Nuraxi” (from which the name of the complex also derives), tells the visitor the history of the millenary civilization that inhabited the territory for a very long period of time datable between Bronze Age and the III century. A.D. Not much is known about the ancient Nuragic civilization: it would be a population of shepherds and farmers who lived divided into small communities in Sardinia for eight centuries and who would have built these extraordinary structures.
The “Su Nuraxi” nuraghe is about 18 meters high and is surrounded by an enclosure made up of four side towers joined by walls. Inside the central tower, which preserves both floors intact, there is a courtyard with a well 20 meters deep. Around these buildings stood the village mostly made up of circular huts dating back to the VII-VI century. BC, when the territory was under the Punic and Roman domination. These huts have currently been unearthed in a small number of nuraghi and those of Barumini reach the highest degree of complexity and evolution.
In the Middle Bronze Age (1500-1300 BC) the main tower was built, that is the simple “tholos” nuraghe. The term “tholos” is used to indicate a truncated cone tower that has inside circular chambers with walls made up of large boulders that tend to decrease in size as you go up, completed by a false dome cover. The tower (originally about 18.60 m high) consisted of three superimposed rooms communicating with each other through stairs created within the wall thickness.
Nuraghi, Sardinia, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
View of the archaeological nuragic complex of Su Nuraxi di Barumini. UNESCO World Heritage List (foto © shutterstock.com)
In the V century BC the Punic occupation, which took over the nuragic civilization, led to the gradual decline of the village and consequent demographic decline. In the II-I century B.C. the settlement was also reused and adapted by the Romans, who in some cases used certain rooms as a burial place. The structure continued to be inhabited until the III century. A.D. and subsequently frequented sporadically until the early medieval period (VII century. A.D.).
The prehistoric origins of Barumini are also testified by another nuraghe, in the center of the town, dating back to the XVI century BC: the “Nuraxi e’ Cresia” (nuraghe of the church) which came to light during the restoration of “Casa Zapata”, a splendid residence of Aragonese barons, built in the mid 1500s, a rare example of Renaissance-inspired Hispanic civil architecture. Since 2006, the noble palace has housed a museum complex, which houses two towers of the Nuragic monument inside, visible from above thanks to suspended walkways and transparent floors.
Visiting Barumini and its territory today therefore means discovering a world rich in history and tradition. The peculiarity of Barumini is that you can visit the defensive tower and walk among the remains of an entire village of thousands of years ago.
Nuraghi Ruins – Su Nuraxi di Barumini, Bronze Age, Sardinia, Italy, UNESCO World Heritage (foto © Pecold / Shutterstock.com)
Barumini, Sardinia, Italy. View of the archaeological nuragic complex of Su Nuraxi di Barumini. UNESCO World Heritage List. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
Aerial view of Barumini Nuraghi, Unesco World Heritage (foto © Shutterstock.com)
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