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The first significant signs of settlement on the island appear around the 700 B.C.

The first significant signs of settlement on the island appear around the 700 B.C., when people from the east Mediterranean landed and initially settled along the coast and later inland taking up farming and sheep-rearing. A typical example of the ancient society is the architecture of the domus de janas (fairy houses) - small artificial caves dug into the rocks where they deposited their dead. The most noteworthy symbol of ancient Sardinia is the nuraghe (prehistoric round Sardinian tower). These imposing stone structures in the shape of a truncated cone, like impregnable castles, were built by the settlers from 250 B.C. until a few decades before the Christian era. These were used as centres for religious, political and economic organisations in the surrounding areas, There are about 7000 nuraghi to be seen scattered throughout the region, and including those still to be excavated there are about 12,000. Among the most popular with tourists are: Albucciu (Arzachena), Maiori (Tempio Pausania), Palmavera (Alghero), Losa (Abbasanta), Villaggio di S. Cristina (Paulilatino), Santu Antine (Torralba), Su Nuraxi (Barùmini). Also typical are the collective graves, known as Tombs of the Giants, so called because of their enormous dimensions. To enrich their dwellings and to make offerings to their divinities, the nuraghe people produced small bronze statues in the form of humans, animals and other representations of daily life. Also in connection with the veneration of water, the sacred wells are interesting from an architectural point of view. There are about 100 dolmen scattered throughout Sardinia. These megalithic structures are composed of two uprights secured in the ground, which between them support another horizontal part. There are also around 260 menhir, large stone monoliths used for religious purposes, in Sardinian called perdas fittas or longas. Characteristic of the Phoenician culture were the tophet, that is, graveyards where urns containing ashes and human bones can be found. There are about 35 examples of these throughout the island. Also worth a visit are the plentiful “more modern” Romanesque churches, built between 1000 and 1300 A.D. Typical examples of these are, in Cagliari Province the Santa Maria ad Uta and San Saturno in Caglieri. In Nuora Province are San Nicola and Ottana and San Pietro at Bosa. In Oristano Province is S. Guista in Oristano, Santa Maria in Bonarcado. In the Sassari Province, San Simplicio at Olbia, San Gavino at Porto Torres, SS Trinità di Saccargia at Codrongianus, Sant’Antioco di Bisarecio at Ozieri, San Pietro di Sorres at Borutta.

domus de janas
domus de janas

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