Domus De Janas Of Malghesi: A Fairy House 0 Comments
An hour's drive from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites, we arrive at an enchanted place near Oschiri town: "Oh my, this is the Hobbits land!" I tell myself. And I recall the story of Tolkien: "(...) consisting of a single room, with only one access but often without windows ... it was a hobbit-hole and that meant comfort". And the ones in front of me, the beautiful Domus de Janas of Malghesi, retains the same magic. They are not natural caves but ancient human excavations in the rock. Were they tombs? Or else the houses of the fairies, of the Janas? The square or rectangular entrances introduce into an atrium, sometimes followed by a subsequent room. The inhabitants of the time must have been as tall as the Hobbits ...
Looking at them I am fascinated, it is a complex made of 25 Domus de Janas collected in three groups. The millennial rock is covered by green moss. Around, among the shrubs, there is the yellow of the helichrysum with its unmistakable scent of curry, which differs from the yellow of the cistus which contrasts with the silver of its leaves. At the entrance of one of the Domus, an olive tree, that seems to have sunk its roots under the rock, performs as a sentinel. What an immense job it must have been, back then, to be able to perform such excavations in the rock, and so well geometrically executed.
The site is located on the border between Gallura and Logudoro, on Mount Acuto, at the foot of Mount Limbara. It is on Mount Limbara the place called Giolzia in tribute of the Warrior Princess: you can read this beautiful story here.
We are told that in the territory, added to the Domus, there are about thirty Nuraghe, Dolmens and Tombs of the Giants thus confirming the presence of populations of the Nuragic period, including the Balari. They tell us that the Phoenicians also inhabited this place, and their presence is witnessed in the area of Santu Istevene (Saint Steven in Sardinian); then came the Romans of which the fortification of Castrum remains. On the ruins of both and on the ones of the village of Oppidum Octi, the village of Oschiri was built in the Middle Ages. Later on, from the eleventh century till 1272 it was part of the Giudicato of Torres. In the second half of the thirteenth century, Oschiri become Giudicato of Arborea. The Judges of Arborea and the Aragonese disputed it for a long length of time, until 1700 when it passed under the Spanish domination with the family of the Tellez-Giron. In 1843 the Piedmontese arrived and consequently, it passed under the Kingdom of Italy.
We leave this unique place almost reluctantly, dreading of losing that aura of magic that surrounds us when the beautiful poem bu Enrico Valdes echoes in my mind like this:
...Domus de Janas they were called;
the shepherds with their flocks went by before them;
and the peasants ploughing the fields with the strong yokes.
Fairy tales were born to be narrated in winter,
to amazed wayfarers and naive children,
before the grateful fire of the fireplaces:
of arcane magicians and malign witches,
of charms and spells, of fairy houses.
Written by Daniela Toti