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The Bronze age and the Nuragic civilisation

The nuraghe, emblems of an island, part of the heritage of all Mankind

A military fortress intended to serve a defensive purpose? A religious temple?
A market for the exchange of goods and commercial traffic? A hub of political life and community decision-making?

Nothing is more evocative of the Sardinian people and of Sardinia itself than the timeless fascination exerted by the numerous mysterious nuraghe, with their characteristic conical stone towers and “tholos-style” roofs.

Utterly unique, the nuraghe are the largest and best-preserved megalithic monuments to be found anywhere in Europe, and were classified by Unesco in 1997 as world heritage sites due to their creative and innovative use of materials and their construction techniques. More than 7,000 nuraghe are scattered across the island. Construction began on them in 1500 B.C. and they were built by groups of people who made intelligent use of metallurgy, specialising in the working of bronze.

Alghero was very much aligned with what was going on throughout Sardinia at the time, and today, across an area measuring just a few square miles, there are numerous significant and well-preserved examples of bronzework, which provide a great deal of insight into the social, political and religious life of the ancient Sardo-Nuraghic civilisation.

The huts of the Nuragic village of Palmavera

On the road that leads to Porto Conte (the “127 bis” road), you will come across the Nuragic complex of Palmavera, lying on the slopes of the hill of the same name.
The village is the result of successive building phases dating from the 14th and 13th centuries B.C. At the centre sits the central tower and a bastion, flanked by other (later) towers.
Around the tower there is a plethora of circular and rectangular huts, the largest of which is the great meeting hut measuring 12 metres in diameter.
There are also animal enclosures, stores, workshops and wells.
Still within the complex, you will see collective burial monuments known as Giants’ Tombs, which are located close to what is now the roadman’s house.

The Nuragic site of Sant’Imbenia, an ancient trading hub

Continuing along the same road, towards Capo Caccia, you come across the Nuragic site of Sant’Imbenia, in what was once a great trading hub, as indicated by the discovery of materials imported from Phoenicia and Greece.
The site was composed of three towers, of which only the central tower remains, and of a series of other workshops.
The large central hut and an immense courtyard with hearth to the north-west of the tower were used for community purposes.
Adjacent to the site of the nuraga, numerous remains of Phoenician-Punic and Roman burial grounds stand as testaments to the fact that this area has been in use for several thousand years.

Monte Carru: the well of healing water and the ancient city of Carbia

On the hillsides of Monte Carru, two kilometres to the north-east of Alghero, amongst extensive olive groves, there are important historical traces dating back to the Nuragic period.
At the foot of the mountain, you will come across the Nuraghe Solaris, whereas to the south-west, in the “La Purissima” district, you can visit the only Nuragic well in the Alghero area, which was uncovered in 1999.
The sacred well was used as a place of worship due to the presence of a source of water deemed to have the potential to heal conditions affecting the limbs, as demonstrated by the multitude of foot-shaped ex-voto ceramics.
After the Nuragic period, the plain at the foot of the hill became the site of the Roman city of Carbia.
Remains of the city were found in the necropolis that was discovered on the rocky south-western slope.

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