The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD was devastating.
Two eruptions suddenly and permanently ended life in the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum...
AKG Bildarchiv Monheim
There is a place in the world where it is possible to experience the everyday life of ancient Rome: it is Pompeii, the buried city. In this Campania town, not far from Naples, buried in the ashes of Vesuvius, time seems to have stood still. This enables every visitor to experience a journey into the distant past and to admire the habitats of our ancestors. Because of this, it is also the most visited archaeological site in the world.
Pompeii is an expression of the fascinating, ancient world that is told in modern times. Together with the surrounding archaeological area Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata, it is one of the 55 Italian sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The remains of the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried during the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, offer a unique example of the society and daily life of classical antiquity. Both cities have their origins in the Osker people and were under the rule of different peoples. After a social war, Pompeii was granted the rank of the colony and renamed Cornelia Venera Pompeiana, while Ercolano received the lower rank of Municipium. In AD 62, the city of Pompeii was destroyed by an earthquake, and during the reconstruction on October 24, 79 AD, the city of Pompeii was destroyed. (not, as previously assumed, on August 24th), due to the eruption of Vesuvius, the entire area of the city with the suburbs was buried under a 20-meter-thick layer of rock and ash. Herculaneum disappeared under volcanic mud on the same day. Since the discovery of both cities in the 18th century, numerous scientists and archaeologists have unearthed important architectural evidence and objects.
From Pompeii, the main forum and the public buildings of the Capitol (a temple dedicated to the divine triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva), the basilica (the court), and the toilets, as well as the triangular forum with the two theaters, have been preserved. The largest of these theaters is of Greek origin but redesigned according to Roman taste. Another public and the well-preserved building is the thermal bath. The former resort for wealthy Romans, thanks to the healthy climate and the beauty of its landscape, is better known today for the rows of well-preserved residential buildings along the equally well-preserved streets. Among these, we find the House of the Surgeon and the House of the Faun and Chaste Lovers, which are exceptional examples of the architecture of the time. The Mysteries Villa, which owes its name to the wall frescoes, is also impressive.
A specialty of Pompeii is the numerous wall inscriptions on the buildings. Due to the upcoming elections at the time of the volcanic eruption, sayings of political and sexual content can be seen on the walls.
We know much less about Herculaneum, which, according to legend, was founded by Hercules because of the enormous amount of mud under which it was buried and the poor condition of its buildings. The baths, the college of the priests of Augustus, and a theater are almost completely preserved, as are the houses Casa del Bicentenario and Casa die Cervi with their large courtyards and rich decorations. Herculaneum was a rich trading city and even jugs and glass containers in the basements of the shops survived the catastrophe in which food was transported.
The suburb of Oplontis, now known as Torre Annunziata, suffered the same fate as Pompeii and Herculaneum, being only a few kilometers away. The so-called Villa Poppea and the Villa of Lucius Crassus III also belong to this area, which is renowned for its salt flats and thermal facilities. at. In the entire region, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1997, you can still admire numerous sculptures, mosaics, and wall paintings of rare beauty.