Excavations of the ancient city of Pompeii: photo and history

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Excavations of ancient Pompeii are the only place where you can see how the ancient Roman city actually looked. In the world there are many ruins of settlements of the Roman period, for example excavations of the city of Udna in Tunisia , but thanks to the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius the city of Pompeii was preserved in its original form.

We were not very lucky when we visited Pompeii, as it was pouring rain. On this page there are many photos from the archaeological site. Many of them may seem to you faded, but we never edit the photo, relying on the relevance even at the expense of beauty.

Pompeii was not completely the Roman city. The settlement was founded in the 8th century BC by one of the ancient peoples of Italy, called oskami. Subsequently, the oskie adopted the Greek culture from the Hellenic colonies in Italy. After numerous warriors between Greeks, Etruscans, Samnites and Romans, the city and the whole region got to Rome.

After the conquest of Rome began the process of "romanization" of this people (the transition to Roman culture), which by the time of the death of the city had not yet ended. We wrote about this process in an article about the history of ancient Italy.


By the time of the eruption of Vesuvius, the population of the city consisted of half of the indigenous population, and the second half consisted of Romans who moved here. On the excavations they constantly find ceramics or simply drawings with Greek inscriptions, evidence that the Greek culture in Pompeii was still widespread.

The architecture of Pompeii almost completely became Roman, you can have no doubt that you will visit the Roman city, and see how the people of the great conquerors, who conquered all the Mediterranean, lived.

Bad times began in 62 AD, when there was a big earthquake in this region. Many buildings were destroyed, and representatives of the Roman nobility, who had previously bought houses in Pompeii, began to sell their property.

The city was rebuilt, but lost its position as a shopping center and a respectable resort for wealthy patricians from Rome. Civil unrest was also frequent, as the heterogeneity of the population gave rise to enmity and conflict.

17 years after the earthquake in 79th year, a terrible catastrophe occurred, the volcano Vesuvius began its strongest eruption. A huge amount of volcanic ash was thrown into the air, which covered a nearby area with a layer about 6 meters high. The whole city was buried, only parts of the columns and walls of the tallest houses remained above the surface.

When excavations began in 1748, the engineers discovered that the city of Pompeii was preserved in its original form and now you can visit it and see for yourself how the Romans lived two thousand years ago. Now archaeological work is still ongoing, another 25% of the city is not excavated.

Where are and how to get to the excavations of the city of Pompeii.

Excavations of Pompeii are located near the city of Naples. Two cities are on different sides of the volcano Vesuvius. In Naples, many interesting places: Castel del Ovo Castle, Castel Nuovo Castle or Palazzo Riale Palace. We believe that coming to Naples just to see Pompeii is not very reasonable, stop in the city for at least two or three days.

The easiest way to get from Naples to Pompeii by train is to take about 40 minutes. This train is more correctly called a suburban train, convenience and prices appropriate.

Attention! In Italian, the city of Naples is called "Napoli". Do not forget about it when you look for the train or bus you need.

There are two routes that will suit you:

First: The Naples - Sorrento (Napoli - Sorrento) train. In this case, you need to go to the station "Pombei Scavi".

Second: Train Naples - Scafati (Napoli - Scafati). In this case, you need to go to the station "Pompei".

These trains have slightly different routes and stop stations near the excavations are different.

On both trains you can sit in several places. The stations are near the metro: Porta Nolana (lines 3 and 4), Piazza Garibaldi (lines 3 and 4), Via Gianturco (line 4), San Giovanni a Teduccio (line 4), Barra (line 4), San Giorgio a Cremano 3 line). Take into account that 3 and 4 lines of the underground are not underground, these are cable cars.

The most interesting thing is that you can see the excavations of Pompeii.

The first thing to pay attention to is roads. The pride of the Roman state, some of them, laid two thousand years ago, serve in Italy until now. The covering of streets in the city is laid out of a hewn large stone.

On the street there was a roadway (in the center in the photo) and pedestrian sidewalks. Pay attention to the large stones - this is a very interesting Roman invention. The stones served for pedestrians for crossing the street in rainy weather. We appreciated this system in person, just at the time of our visit to Pompeii there was a downpour.

In turn, the vehicles drove freely along the street, the wheels passed between the stones. More photos of the roads in the city look in the small photo gallery below.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

Not all the buildings in Pompeii have been preserved in good condition. Some of them will not cause the ordinary tourist serious interest. We will talk about the most interesting places in the city.

The most luxurious house in Pompeii belonged to Lucius Cornelius Sulla and his nephew (although this is more speculation than the facts). It is called the house of the faun.

At the entrance to the house is a pool with a bronze statue of a faun in the center, hence the name. The statue is quite small in size, an adult man roughly knee-deep.

Faun is not exactly ordinary. Most often, this deity is depicted with goat's legs and hoofs. This sculpture has human legs, but features and facial expressions, hair and pose are exactly as it is customary to depict in this deity.

The house had a huge size of 110 by 40 meters. Such a house was a sign of the highest status of the owner, given that it was within the city walls. Outside the walls one could even build an even larger structure, the land there was cheap, and there were many. Inside the walls, such a mansion could afford only the richest citizen of the city.

During the excavations in the house of the faun there was found a huge amount of jewelry from gold and silver, the most precious find of precious metals was a gold bracelet in the shape of a snake, wrapped around the owner's hand.

But even more valuable finds were mosaics, which were found several dozen. All of them were deleted and replaced with copies. The originals can be seen in the museum of Naples. The most valuable mosaic is called "The Battle of Issa". It shows the important battle of Alexander the Great in the Persians, led by King Darius. You can see the photo of the original from the museum of Naples below.

To my great regret, part of the mosaic is lost irrevocably. The picture itself dates back to the 100th year BC, that is, it was created more than 200 years after the death of Alexander the Great. Presumably it is a copy of an even more ancient Greek mosaic.

In Pompeii in the house of the faun, you can see a copy installed here in 2005. A team of nine masters from the city of Ravenna worked on this copy for two years, headed by North Binyamy. It can not be photographed from above and entirely, photos of the sites you will find in the small photo gallery below.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

On the territory of the house was a central building with a pool for collecting rainwater, separate buildings for slaves, a kitchen, a large garden and several other outbuildings. Photos from the house of the faun you will find in a small gallery below, the garden, of course, was completely destroyed by the eruption, in the photo you will see the reconstruction of the garden.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

In Pompeii, several bakeries with millstones for flour milling and a bread oven were preserved. The Romans did not bake bread at home, but they bought it right next to the bakeries, which worked almost round the clock. In most homes and apartments ordinary citizens did not have a device for cooking hot food. Photos of the bakery you will find in the small gallery below.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

The next building in Pompeii falls under the category (18+), so those readers who have not reached the age of 18, we forbid reading this part of the article. It is clear that this will not stop anyone, but it was worth a try.

This is a perfectly preserved public house, which was on the second floor of the building. Such establishments in the Roman cities were not chic. Usually the brothel consisted of several rooms without windows and even without ventilation.

The beds were very small and covered with straw and skin on top. Clients and staff (we know how to choose decent synonyms) were more in a sitting than a lying position. The only decoration of the rooms were murals and images of clearly erotic content. See the photo in the gallery below.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

The large amphitheater was badly preserved, the steps in it were wooden and completely destroyed by the eruption. It was used mainly for gladiatorial fights and similar bloody views for the crowd.

The small theater was better preserved, the benches in it were made of stone. In the small theater, theatrical performances, disputes or speeches of speakers were most often arranged.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

The central place of the city was the square, which in the Roman cities was called a forum, it served as a market and a meeting place for citizens on political issues.

Some historians argue that the forum housed all residents of the city, which is doubtful. The population of Pompeii at the time of its heyday was more than 20 000 people. In the photo below you see the figures of people, we think that 20 000 people per square simply will not fit.

During the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius and the death of the city, according to various estimates, from 2 to 16 thousand people died. About 1000 bodies were found during excavations, but in a very interesting form. People were overwhelmed with ash directly in the positions in which they died. In the ash formed voids and they poured with gypsum to get a mold.

Such casts you can see both in the museum of Naples, and at excavations. In the photo below just one of the casts. Pay attention to a huge amount of ceramic products, which are still found. Ceramics was not terrible ash, because it is born in the fire. It is a pity that the ceramics are very poorly preserved drawings.

Other places in Pompeii do not cause much admiration among ordinary tourists, so we will not talk about them in detail, we'd better advise you to see the next photo gallery from the excavations.

Prices and availability of tickets. Operating mode.

The entrance price is 11 EURO, tickets can be bought at the ticket office at the entrance (photo is in the gallery above). Tourists are free, no restrictions on the number of visitors visiting the excavations of the Roman city, no. You do not have to worry about queues, they are not here.

From November 1 to March 31, you can get here from 8:30 am to 17:00 (the entrance closes at 15:30)

From April 1 to October 31, the museum is open from 8:30 am to 19:30 (the entrance closes at 18-00)

We wish you a successful visit to Italy, do not fall under the rain, as happened with us. Read our articles about Italy ( links below ).

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