Archaeologocial Sites and Historic Sites on Sardinia
History is comes to life in Sardinia. You can travel here up to 6,000 years backwards ... no time machine needed. Places like "Domus de Janas" (Fairy Graves, tomb carved graves) lead to the oldest visible traces of colonization on Sardinia, followed by the nuragic culture, the phoenicians, the punics and the romans. All of this can be explored in countless locations - from ancient cities to rock tombs. Excavation sites are available in large numbers. But also the recent history is worth seeing.
On this page I am going to introduce you to a few of these places here - the most important ones. But that does not mean that these are the only existing excavations or ancient and early remains. Regardless of the region in which you spend your holidays in Sardinia: Historic places are definitely within reach. Because they are everywhere in Sardinia.
Overview and ancient cities
The most important historic places and sites
The most important places such as large and well-preserved nuraghes or ancient cities can be found in this overview. Wherever the journey leads you: There always some place nearby.
In Sardinia there are two well preserved ancient cities. Both of them score with a splendid location, making a day trip worthwhile. Tharros near Oristano on the west coast of Sardinia and Nora near Pula in the south of Sardinia. Tharros is located on a beautiful headland along the Sinis peninsula. It is one of the most important excavations in Sardinia, which is also heavily frequented during peak season. In summer there are also concerts and other events happening here in Tharros.
Ancient city Nora
Sourrounded by the ocean and the mountains of the Sulcis mountain range lies Nora. It is to be found on one of the southernmost tip of Sardinia. The settlement has been a home to many cultures: Phoenicians, carthaginians and romans followed one after another. The remains testify mainly to the roman period in the city. Although parts of the former settlement are submerged in the sea, the peninsula with the ancient city is still quite extensive. Roman theaters, spas, private accommodation, parts of the streets, columns, mosaics and much more brings you back into the roman empire here in Nora. The region around Nora also has many beautiful beaches. The mountain range Monti del Sulcis with the WWF nature reserve Monte Arcosu is also worth a visit. Nora is not really far away from the capital Cagliari and the area around Pula, Chia and Porto Pino. More information about Pula, Nora and Chia and Cagliari.
Ancient city Tharros
Tharros is one of those places one really has to see. Tharros is more than just some ancient city in the Mediterranean. Its location along cape Marco (Capo Marco) is simply one of the most fascinating spots one will ever get to see. The land here stretches into the sea - cliffs, beaches, rocks, wild waves on one side of the promontory, still waters in light blue colors on the other side of the promontory - fertil and lush, surrounded by waves - that is Capo Marco and Tharros. The ancient city of Tharros has been settled by the nuraghe-culture, the phoenicians made it a city. The roots of this settlement have started about 1,200 years before Christ. Romans and Punis were also at home in Tharros. The excavation can be visited, there are also guided tours around the place. There are sufficient parking lots and on your way you will find numerous bars and restaurants. If you want to go there, plan a complete day because the cape and its surroundings are not too small. Furthermore you'll find awesome beaches around Tharros. More information about Oristano, Sinis peninsula and Tharros.
Nuraghi and fairy tombs (Domus de Janas) in Sardinia
Nuraghi are are the tfamous historical remains of buildings in Sardinia. The tower structures of robed fieldstones are numerous, from mighty plants to smaller structures. Anyone who is in Sardinia will see them anyway, as they are present practically everywhere. The Nuraghi culture was named on the basis of these buildings. The nuraghi culture is dating around 1.600 to 400 years before Christ. The term "Nuraghe" was founded by the romans, who came to Sardinia a few hundred years later. The usage of the nuraghi is being interpreted differently: It might have been a place of worship, graves or castles. One simply doesn't know.
Some nuraghi and surrounding buildings form a whole village - the most famous of is Su Nuraxi or Nuraghe di Barumini, which is a World Heritage Site. A visit to this well-preserved complex is worthwhile due to the landscape in this area, in which numerous former volcanic cones bizarrely protrude from the gently rolling fields. In the final stages of the nuragic culture, villages were built that no longer had nuraghi buildings and could accommodate more people. Also such village facilities can be found all over Sardinia.
Wherever you spend your holiday: The next nuraghe is never far away. Have a look on your map or you simply ask for such a place. There are also numerous street signs hinting to those historical places.
Domus de Janas- Fairy houses or fairy graves
There are over 1,000 of them in Sardinia: Domus de Janas. Fairy houses or fairy graves. The man-made carvings are supposed to be rock tombs, but there is nothing certain about it. They are usually grouped together - from 5 to about 40 tombs. They are dated to about 3,000 to 4,000 years before Christ. The early settlement in Sardinia is therefore very vividly traceable. The Domus de Janas are often quite inaccessible in the mountains of Sardinia. They consist essentially of rock caves, which are worked into the rock in cube form. But those who follow in the footsteps of these first traces of civilization will find that not only the caves themselves have been worked on by human hands. The surrounding area is often designed by humans - with monoliths that are obviously not of natural origin. What it exactly was or who made it? Nobody knows.
The first inhabitants of the island, who left their visible traces, lived on agriculture, hunting and fishing. Findings of little figures shaped like women prove a religious life. Many Domus de Janas can be found in enchanting places ... places full of a very special atmosphere. It is worthwhile, therefore, to pay a visit to the ancient sites. This requires practical clothing and good footwear, because walking is usually necessary - sometimes over stick and stone.
Mining History and fortifications
Mining History: The mines around Ingurtosu
The Villaggio Minerario di Ingurtosu is a deserted place. Where once intensive mining was operated, today only ruins are left. From large buildings and facilities to the residential buildings. If you like to see it: Starting from Arbus by car you follow the signs to Ingurtosu and Piscinas. Ingurtosu can not be overlooked along the Rio Piscinas. In ancient times, lead, zinc and silver were brought down the river to the sea to be shipped from there.
To follow the path of the minerals is worthwhile - you cannot miss it if you follow the road. At the bottom of the road opens a wide dune area with impressive sandy mountains, as far as the eye can see. A huge beach can be found here as well. If you go on an expedition, you will find the remnants of mining near the parking lot between the dunes: Old lorries and rails illustrate the region's past. But you should not touch the water of the river, because it is probably heavily contaminated because of the former mining activities. The abandoned buildings should not be entered - tunnels and buildings have been collapsing in the past and you certainly don't want to be there when this happens. If you like to have a closer look: There are guided tours that will keep you safe. More about Piscinas and Ingurtosu.
If you are interested in mining history or abandoned places or abandoned instrial sites you will also find the Miniera di Montevecchio very exciting. It is a very large abondoned mine. The terrain of Montevecchio can only be entered as part of a guided tour.
Castello Malaspina in Bosa, Cagliari and other places
The excavations and places I have been introducing above are only a smaller part of Sardinias history and heritage. Around all of Sardinia you will find tombs, nuraghi, roman culture and many other historical places or items. Churches and fortresses are also telling stories about times long gone. If you are driving by car or go for a walk or hike you will discover street signs or sometimes smaller wooden signs that are hinting to histrocial sites - some of them being very hiddden.
Another historic attraction in Sardinia is the castle or fortress Malaspina in Bosa (Information about Bosa and Cuglieri). If you like to visit Bosa, plan for a complete day. Bosa itself is a beautiful town with an obvious history as an important harbor. Also the Città Punica in Olbia is worthwile and Buddusò offers several excavations at a time. The Area Turris Libisonis in Porto Torres is mostly about romans. If you are a fan of archaeology and history you should also visit Cagliari, where you will find many very attractive spots: Cagliari.
Roman thermal springs are to be found in Fordongianus - near lake Omodea. Nearby and outstanding are the excavations of Santa Christina near Abbasanta. Santa Christina consists of another nuraghe and a temple. That temple is so outstand because its architechture is exact and geometric. But at last that is how Sardinia presents itself anyway: Outstanding.