A city with a tragic fate
The ancient city of Pompeii remained buried for a long 15 centuries after the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79. Its rediscovery literally rewrote history as it was known and brought a whole new perspective on life in the 1st century.
The first settlement
The first settlements in Pompeii probably originated sometime between the 8th and 6th centuries BC after settlement by the Osk tribe. A port was also established here, which was used mainly by Greek seafarers and traders. The picture shows a typical alley in Pompeii.
Originally, several ethnic groups lived in the city, but gradually came under Roman influence and began to flourish. The picture shows the so-called Small Theater (the Grand Theater is nearby and was closed at the time of the visit).
Thanks to the fertility of the region around the volcano, this area became popular with the Romans and theaters, temples, sports grounds, spas and the largest building in Pompeii – the Amphitheater – began to appear here.
The amphitheater was the construction of an arena for gladiatorial games and sports competitions in this ancient city. It is the oldest known building of its kind in the world.
Palestra Grande – an extensive gymnasium used for physical and intellectual education of young citizens. During this period (before the eruption of the volcano), the city had about 20,000 inhabitants who had no idea what catastrophe was approaching – despite many warnings.
On February 5, 62 AD, a devastating earthquake devastated a large part of the city. Work began on repairs and gradually most of the city was rebuilt. The inhabitants were accustomed to mild earthquakes, and even such a large earthquake was not associated with the volcanic activity of Mount Vesuvius.
At the beginning of October 79, all the wells in the city dried up, which the inhabitants of Pomeji still did not take as a sufficient warning. After weaker earthquakes, smaller cracks with smoke began to appear on Mount Vesuvius.
Day of destruction
The disaster came after noon on October 24. First there was an eruption, which began to spew huge amounts of molten rock and volcanic ash into the air. The explosion was so large that the volcanic cloud soon reached a height of 30 kilometers. The molten rock cooled rapidly in the air, forming porous pumice. The southeast wind began to blow this cloud directly over Pompeii, and the pumice, along with dust and ash, began to fall on the city. About 30 cm of this material attacked every hour, which lasted 18 long hours. During this time, most of the inhabitants managed to escape from the city, some were killed by falling rocks or ruined buildings that did not support the weight of the attacked rock. Residents who were trapped in their homes were expecting something much worse. The picture shows the so-called Forum – the center of everyday life in Pompeii.
The eruption and the intensity of the falling ash gradually weakened during the night, and those who did not suffocate from the ubiquitous dust already thought they had won. But that was a big mistake. Early in the morning, a volcanic ash cloud collapsed along with the collapse of a weakened volcano crater. This began to form pyroclastic waves, which flowed down the volcanic slope at speeds of up to 700 km / h. Pyroclastic currents are among the most destructive that volcanic activity can do. A mixture of hot gases, magma, and ash approached the city relentlessly, destroying everything in its path. Even 10 km distance of Pompeii was not enough and at the moment when the first wave reached the city, it still had a temperature of about 250 ° C and burned everything alive. The next two waves were even more destructive. The picture shows a cast of one of the victims.
The port of Pompeii and the coast were destroyed by a tsunami and have not been preserved. The picture shows almost 2000 years old bread.
Under the ashes
The next morning the volcano calmed down and the city remained covered with 6m of pumice and ash and was forgotten for 1500 years. covered.
Date of disaster
The only written surviving memory of this event is described by the Roman poet and also by an eyewitness Pliny the Younger in his letter 25 years after the event. Plinius cites August 24 as the date of the event, which was contradicted by much circumstantial evidence, but it was not until 2018 that an inscription with the date of October 17 was discovered in Pompeii, which, together with the coins found in September 79, made it today as a date. events listed October 24.
The first frescoes were discovered by chance in 1599, but then no one knew that the whole city was buried in this place. It was not until 1748 – ten years after the discovery of Herculanea – that Pompeii was rediscovered. The picture shows a statue of Centaur (but it is not originally from Pompeii, it is the work of the Polish sculptor Igor Mirotaj from 1994)
There are many street grocery stores in the city. In some deep terracotta pots, scientists found traces of food almost 2,000 years old.
Casa del Menandro
There are a lot of different houses in Popmej and each of them is interesting. Menandra House is a typical high-class family house.
The name is derived from a fresco by the Greek artist Menander and the whole house occupies an area of 1800 square meters.
Another of the beautiful and best preserved houses in Pompeii. A statuette of the god of fertility Priapa with a giant penis was found here, which was originally made for a fountain, from which women who wanted to get pregnant allegedly drank. Another decoration is frescoes with erotic motifs and also with stories from ancient myths.
One of the largest and most magnificent houses in Pompeii with the famous statue of Fauna.
Mount Vesuvius itself is also worth a visit and a walk around the crater is interesting. However, the crater, although huge at first glance, is the crater of the last explosion from 1944 – the original crater and the mountain were much, much larger.
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