Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Su Nuraxi di Barumini

Except for a few crumpled maps, these postcard-tickets are the only physical proof of our visit to Sardinia. And of course, this grainy picture does not really reflect how impressive the nuraghe at Barumini actually was.  (If I may play tour guide: Nuraghi are prehistoric architectural rock structures found all over Sardinia, unique to the island.  At the center of this particular nuraghe is a tall fortified tower, to which additional towers and later house-like dwellings were added, circling out from the center.)  

Knowing the structures were about 3500 years old, we weren't expecting much to remain. However, we were delighted to find the fortress settlement quite well-preserved. With a guide carefully leading us, explaining how it was built and where to duck our heads, we were actually able to enter the central tower and climb up and down its spiral staircases, into its dark chambers, and around its thick walls. It wasn't difficult to imagine a council of elders sitting in a circle on stone benches, discussing who the next invader might be, where to build the well, hide the food.

We spent a long while wandering around the outer rings, walking through houses, checking out the built-in cubby holes and shelves, imagining. Places like this always remind me of the times during my childhood when my younger sister and I would chalk out floorplans on the sidewalk, build houses out of lawn chairs and towels, imagine the docks out at the lake were our elegant homes. I was swept away by my memories and imagination, struck by how much we share, how we are part of the same history.

In addition to being a magical sort of place, this nuraghe is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site: "The nuraghi of Sardinia, of which Su Nuraxi is the pre-eminent example, represent an exceptional response to political and social conditions, making an imaginative and innovative use of the materials and techniques available to a prehistoric island community." Nice work, Nuragic peoples!


fi said...

Howzit! Isn't it funny how little we know about our world? I vaguely know where Sardinia is (off the coast of Italy?) but I have never heard of 'nuraghi'. Interesting...

jenicrob said...

Maybe I will find out in a later post, but three have gone by now and I still do not know. . . . Why didn't you take your camera?? I can only imagine that some disaster befell it or that it was tragically forgotten in the packing. Cool, UNESCO World Heritage Site--Patrick and I are going to one on our honeymoon (Iguazu Falls)!

Swiss Ms. said...

In case I did not ever mention it on another post, our camera is busticated. We used it broken for a while, despite the fact that it wouldn't turn off except by removing the battery, but then only the most recent photo would be saved. Deciding whether to keep the current one or try for a new and better one felt vaguely like a gameshow. Too much stress for vacation.

Iguazu is supposed to be amazing. Perfect!