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Syracuse and the Rock Tombs of Pantalica (World Heritage)

According to softwareleverage, Syracuse was founded by Greek colonists from Corinth in the 8th century BC. Founded. After the Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Byzantines left their mark. The heart of the city is the small island of Ortigia with temples, catacombs, amphitheaters, fortresses and docks and the cathedral. The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow passage. The necropolis of Pantalica is about 35 km from Syracuse and has thousands of chamber tombs.

Syracuse and Pantalica Rock Tombs: Facts

Official title: Syracuse and rock chamber tombs from Pantalica
Cultural monument: Ancient city ensemble of Syracuse and Pantalica settlement from the late Bronze and the early Iron Ages in Sicily; Syracuse: core city on the island of Ortygia; Buildings include the remains of the Temple of Apollo (around 600 BC; oldest Doric temple in Sicily, converted into a church in Byzantine times), an Ionic temple (started around 510-500 BC; unfinished) under the baroque Palazzo Vermexio (today City Hall) and the Doric Temple of Athens (480-470 BC) as the core structure of the cathedral (converted into a Christian basilica in 1093; since the 18th century with a baroque facade), park of Neapolis with Greek theater, altar of Hieron II (275 –215 BC), fortifications of Dionysius and Fort Euryalus, Roman amphitheater (3rd century AD), ports of Porto Piccolo and Porto Grande; Pantalica: over 5. 000 graves mostly carved into the rock (mostly from the 13th – 8th centuries BC); Traces from Byzantine times, here e.g. B. the foundations of the Anaktoron (Prince’s Palace)
Continent: Europe
Country: Italy
Location: Syracuse, Sicily
Appointment: 2005
Meaning: Exceptional combination of outstanding buildings from different cultures (Greek, Roman and Baroque); unique testimony to the development of Mediterranean culture and civilization over three millennia

Syracuse and the Rock Tombs of Pantalica: History

9th century BC Chr. Settlement of Sicily by the Phoenicians
8th century BC Chr. Settlement of the east coast by the Phoenicians and establishment of trading posts
734 BC Chr. Founding of Syracuse
525-456 BC Chr. Aeschylus, Greek poet
427-348 BC Chr. plato
413 BC Chr. Battle between the Athenians and Syracusans at Porto Grande
5th – 4th Century BC Chr. Control of the entire island from Syracuse, especially under Dionysius I (405 BC – 367 BC)
287-212 BC Chr. Archimedes
212 BC Chr. Conquest of Sicily by Rome
5th-6th Century Byzantine conquest
9-10 Century Oriental principality by Arab Muslims, capital Palermo
1197-1250 Glorious reign of Frederick II von Hohenstaufen
1266 Charles I, Duke of Anjou, King of Sicily
1442-1458 Union of the Kingdoms of Naples and Syracuse
1693 Enlargement of the cathedral after a devastating earthquake

“Do not disturb my circles!” – Syracuse and rock chamber tombs of Pantálica

According to legend, Archimedes, one of the most important Greek physicists and mathematicians of antiquity, was drawing geometric figures in the sand in front of his house in Syracuse, when the Romans were finally able to conquer the city in 212 BC: “Noli turbare circulos meos!” – “Don’t disturb my circles!” He called out to the soldier who rushed to arrest him. Thereupon he raised his sword against Archimedes and killed him.

The Romans had previously besieged Syracuse for over two years and were unable to take the city for themselves. Archimedes is said to have delayed the success of the Romans with clever and cunning constructions in defense. In addition to throwing machines, he developed a so-called solar cannon, with which he is said to have destroyed entire fleets. In 2005, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona investigated the question of whether sunlight bundled by two mirrors could actually set the sails of an attacking ship on fire. Although they did not succeed in setting a fishing boat on fire in this way, they were nevertheless able to prove that the solar cannon works in principle.

The myth about Archimedes and his sand circles is just one of many stories about ancient Syracuse. According to another anecdote, the ingenious, yet peculiar Archimedes found in his bathtub that the amount of overflowing water corresponds exactly to the volume of his body. “Eureka!” – “I found it!” Shouting, he then stormed naked out of his house into the street. The legends about Syracuse are hardly surprising, since such well-known personalities as Aeschylus, Epicharm and Plato gathered in the city in their heyday.

The lively provincial capital was a metropolis during antiquity. Traces of this time can still be found today in the archaeological park of Neapolis, in the romantic-looking, winding old town on the island of Ortygia, but also in the mysterious necropolis of Pantálica with its more than 5000 honeycomb-like graves, most of which are carved into the steep rock walls. Located in the impressive Valle dell’Anapo gorge, Pantálica is enclosed like a fortress by the low-lying river valleys of the Anapo and the Calcinara. Archaeologists have discovered traces of dwellings from the time of Greek settlement in the wild and romantic area.

Syracuse and the Rock Tombs of Pantalica