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Sardinia
 
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The nuraghic Palace of Barumini  
The nuraghic Palace of Barumini
Barumini

CA [Cagliari]


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Location: South-central Sardinia

Facilities:
- Restaurant
- Holiday Farmhouse
- Hotel
- Bar

Ideal for:
- Families with children
- People who love archaeology
- People who love culture

The tower people invaded Sardinia. They did that with the Nuraghi, scattered on the whole territory. There's no corner of the coast and  inland without evidence of the presence of the nuraghic people. A mysterious civilization that left in Barumini one of the most magnificent example of the architecture of the past.
Until the first half of the twentieth century, between the villages of Barumini and Tuili (at the foot of the Giara of Gesturi), there was a  peculiar hill. People were not amazed by its shape, but by the presence of a small window. Many myths and tales went around, sometimes they were created to make sure children didn't go near that mysterious place.
A young archaeologist from Barumini, named Giovanni Lilliu, asked for permission to excavate, to find out what was hidden underneath the hill and most of all beneath that little window.
Works started in 1951 and Lilliu himself didn't expect to discover such an incredible treasure.
Hidden 30 metres underground was Su Nuraxi( the nuraghe) a stone giant, amazing evidence of the nuraghic civilization.
The Palace of Barumini overlooks the surrounding flat land and is formed by a huge quatrefoiled nuraghe, whose central tower is its oldest construction. Originally it was almost 20 metres high and divided into three floors. The tower should date back to 1478 B.C.(the Bronze Age) and was probably quite imposing. The four towers surrounding the central one should date back to the 13th century B.C.  Between the two constructions there was an inner courtyard that linked the central tower to the other four (each tower is positioned according to the cardinal points). Within the courtyard there's a 20 metres deep well that still holds drinking-water, confirming how the nuraghic civilization had remarkable architectural knowledge.
Around the 11th century B.C the entire complex (the central keep and the quatrefoiled bastion) was surrounded by a 3 metres thick circle of walls to reinforce and better defend the palace.
From that moment on entering the fortress became even more difficult for all invaders: the only possible entrance was a small opening placed at a height of 7 metres. During the following years other seven towers were built around the palace making the construction even more imposing.
Around the palace there are many nuraghic huts, with very narrow alleys and an evolved urbanistic structure. The excavations showed how the village kept expanding for centuries. During the Iron Age (8th century B.C.) “the council hut” (a construction with a circular seat and some recesses in the walls) must have been the centre of the village activity.
The nuraghic Palace of Barumini was such a grand fortress, that every population that dominated this territory chose it as their bulwark.
But it was thanks to the 30 metres of ground that buried it that its fate has become so mysterious.
According to journalist Sergio Frau, who wrote the book “le Colonne d'Ercole. Un'inchiesta” (Hercules' Columns. An investigation), Su Nuraxi could have been swept away by a giant wave, that, from the Gulf of Cagliari, covered the whole Campidano (the region south of Barumini) and swallowed the palace. A catastrophic event that would explain why many nuraghi of the area are partially destroyed  only on the side facing the Gulf of Cagliari.
Sergio Frau's fascinating theory goes as far as identifying Sardinia as the ancient island of Atlas (which became famous with the name of  Atlantis) and started a big debate in the academic world. Lilliu himself (who called Su Nuraxi “the downcast giant”) confessed that the thesis of the journalist from La Repubblica has firm foundations. Sergio Frau's work led to the creation of an itinerant exhibition (Atlantikà), that was held also in the UNESCO headquarters (Paris) and the Academy of Lincei (Rome).
It was the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) that in 1997 recognized Su Nuraxi as a World Heritage.

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