What is a Nuraghi?

What is a Nuraghi?

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A Nuraghe is a huge cone-like tower made up of giant stones, more than 7,000 have been discovered encompassing the whole of Sardinia but more concentrated on the west of the island. This equates to one Nuraghi to every five square kilometers. They are hard to miss when you travel through the countryside, almost lining up on the train journey through the island. The Greeks were so impressed with the beauty and strength that they even tried to claim the Nuraghi as one of their own accomplishments, as to begin the work of a legendary Athenian architect Daedalus. It was the Nuragic Civilisation who constructed these megalithic structures, little is known and all that remains are Nuraghi and stunning bronze figurines.

To give you an understanding of the size of some of these megalithic moments – here is a photograph of me attempting to climb a nuraghe on the outskirts of Perfugas in the north of Sardinia, I never made it to the top. But you can see the true sizes of the stones (I’m just under 6 feet) You can only imagine the amount of work it took to build these monuments and we can only guess at the circumstances that required such structures.

Below is a well-made video, that takes you on a tour of the Nuraghi of Barymini. In this video, you can understand the scale and range of these magnificent monuments.

The Nuragic Civilisation

The Nuragic Civilisation is one of the most mysterious and obscure people of the ancient world. The only written records about the Civilisation come from the Greeks and Romans, which only leaves us with legends and myths. They are believed to have been in Sardinia from 1800 BC until 500BC.

The Purpose of the Nuraghi

The Nuraghi are often seen on the tops of hills, occupying strategic and panoramic positions. Although, it could be the case that any Nuraghi built at lower levels is now hidden by the mud, as some believe that the Civilization build between 20,000 to 30,000 towers and archaeologists have only just scratched the surface of the achievement of this allusive people. There are many different internal layouts to the Nuraghi implying different uses, commonly there is a spiral staircase leading to the top of the tower, which would be an impressive vantage point to spot any potential threats during the turbulent bronze age.

A view from inside a nuraghe
The view from inside a Nuraghe

Excavations from the sites have found stone tools and animal bones, suggesting that the Nuraghes were where the people slept and lived. Also, they would have stored food and kept warm. The towers seem very versatile which makes it hard to pinpoint their exact purpose, but they appear multifunctional and adaptable to any situation that would present itself to the people. The structures can be found clustered together and sometimes enclosed by a megalithic wall.

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