LOCATION: Olbia, North-East Sardinia
HISTORICAL PERIOD: 1400-1200 BC
The most beautiful thing that we can experience in our lives is mystery, which is the source of every art and science. The being who does not know this emotion and who is incapable to feel the amazement is dead (Albert Einstein).
When we talk about Sardinia, the isle of the mysteries, we are obliged to mention this sentence, because of the fascinating past of the nuraghi’s island. An obscure past, obscure like the darkness of its sacred wells which are softly lightened by a gleam of light. The same gleam which captures the imagination of all the visitors who discover a sacred well. The same gleam which let you say: “I got it”, “I know the reason why they were so useful…”but then the intuition disappears and you understand that there are so many doubts…
The nuragic civilization spread on the island many doubts; maybe they wanted to tease people who forgot them. Incredible people who decided not to be forgotten, leaving on the stones these indecipherable signs.
Near the Olbia airport you can find one of this fascinating places: the sacred well of Sa Testa. It is an example of high imagination linked to inexplicable signs. In many parts of the Mediterranean area it is possible to find constructions similar to the sacred wells, but it is difficult to find many constructions like these, or constructions with the same characteristics. During the years, archaeologists and experts have tried with no success to understand why the wells had been built in that particular way and which was the utility.
They have made different suppositions but there are not many certainties.
These wells remind us the nuraghi, the difference is that they were built underground.
It seems that these constructions wanted to represent the female sexual organs, to underline the entrance and the exit towards the afterworld. According to this interpretation it is possible to imagine that the nuragic people built the holy wells according to the lunar stages.
The holy well of Sa Testa is divided into 4 parts: a circular courtyard, an entrance hall, a staircase and a tholos room (false dome). In this room there is the source with a little crack.
Nuragic people did not make anything by chance. We can talk about one of the mysteries of the well of Sa Testa: number 17. In the structure there are 17 steps and the entire well is 17.17 metres long. The number of the nuragic steps is often different. There are temples with 12, 13 or 25 steps. At the moment it is possible to count in Sardinia 30 holy wells more or less. The number 17 is a very important number for the nuragic culture. The ancient Sardinian population, which is supposed to correspond to the glorious civilization of the Shardana, used to make for the young, feasts that could be considered initiation rituals. They used to celebrate the young aged 3,7,13 and 17 years.
3 years: it was possible to see and understand the differences between males and females’ behaviour and character.
7 years: they were celebrated because at this age the child started to become independent and to make his first experiences.
13 years: the males started to become men and the females could become mothers.
17 years: it was the most important stage. The young started to become completely independent. It was the beginning of an independent social life, a life of freedom and responsibilities.
Maybe the 17 steps indicated the introduction to society but this is just one of the suppositions…this does not matter. We can still be attracted by the mistery.
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