In many cultures, beehives are often used to symbolize prosperity and happiness. However, it is not every day that you come across an authentic beehive-like tower. One such place is the island of Sardinia, located in the Mediterranean Sea, which is home to one of the most intriguing sights in this part of the world. These stone towers are called “nuraghe,” once home to local communities who lived in them. Today, these towers continue to stand as monuments from a time long forgotten.
What is a Nuraghe?
A nuraghe is an ancient construction built between the 9th and the 8th century BC by the people of Sardinia. There are around 60,000 nuraghi in the Sardinian landscape, most of which are in the central part of the island. This type of architecture is prevalent in Southern Corsica and Western Sicily. It is believed that these buildings resulted from a merger of different civilizations, including the Etruscans, the native people of Corsica, and the natives of Southern Italy. The word Nuraghe has a dubious etymology: it could derive from the word “Norix” or “Norum,” which are names the locals give to wild pigs that live in the woods and feed on acorns. It is believed that the pigs would often break the acorns against rocks, which is how the first nuraghi were built.
Why are They Called Beehive Towers?
They built these towers with a honeycomb-like structure, hence their name. The beehive-like towers are made up of two or three interconnected stone rooms and are said to result from a need for protection. The Nuraghe were built during a turbulent time in Sardinia’s history when there was a constant threat of invasion and raids by nearby tribes. People needed a safe place to hide from invaders, and the Nuraghe was just that. These towers were often built on hilltops, making it difficult for enemies to infiltrate the area. For this reason, the Nuraghe has also been described as “the fortress of the Sardinian tribes.”
Where are These Mysterious Stone Towers Located?
The Nuraghe can be found in many parts of the island, but the most significant concentration of these mysterious towers is in the Barbagia region. The Barbagia region is located in the southern part of Sardinia, in Nuoro, Oristano, and Sassari provinces. The Barbagia region is sparsely populated, consisting mainly of open, arid land. Nuraghe can also be found in the Logudoro region, situated in the center of Sardinia, and the Gallura region, in the northwest. The Nuraghe in the Gallura region is often smaller. They are thought to have been built by the local tribes in the area.
How Were These Nuraghe Built?
The materials used to build the Nuraghe were mainly derived from the area in which they were constructed. For example, sandstone was quarried from the local area, limestone boulders were used to make the tower’s base, and granite was used to build the rest of the structure. They often transported granite from a town called Tortolì, located in the Logudoro region. Construction of the Nuraghe was a long and challenging process, as some towers were up to 50 feet high. It is thought that the Nuraghe were often built on top of existing buildings, such as tombs or other beehive towers. Based on the architectural style of the Nuraghe, engineers have estimated that around 500 people would have been required to build a single tower.
Culture of Sardinia and Its People
Sardinia’s culture is rich, and the people who live on the island are known for being hard workers with a strong sense of community. The island is also known for its rich agricultural output, producing many fruit and vegetables, including oranges, lemons, and artichokes. Sardinia is the largest producer of artichokes in the world, and the vast majority is exported to Italy. Sardinia is also home to several different types of potatoes, considered some of the best in the world. The Sardinian people speak a language known as Sardinian, an Indo-European language that is also spoken in Corsica and Northern Italy. It is believed that the Sardinian language is ancient, with some linguists claiming it is one of the oldest languages in Europe.
The nuraghe towers are a fascinating part of the island’s history and culture and are one of the most intriguing sights in this part of the world. They are genuinely mysterious stone towers that will leave you mesmerized, and you will be able to explore them first-hand when you visit Sardinia. The island is a truly unique place, and you will be able to discover more about its history and culture when you visit.