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Tharros The Phoenician Town 0 Comments

Tharros The Phoenician Town

A really interesting excursion is to visit Tharros, Phoenician City. Two and a half hours far from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites by car, for me it was a sort of “dutiful” journey towards my cousin, Lebanese, who since the family began to get acquainted with Sardinia forty years ago, has always proudly reported the important role played by the Phoenicians in the remote societies of the Sardinian populations. 

To reach the Archaeological area of ​​Tharros, located on the promontory of Capo San Marco, in the Sinis peninsula (Oristano), from Golfo Aranci you can drive two ways: keeping a little to the north, for 205 km passing by Berchidda, Thiesi, Macomer or going further south, for 216 Km passing by San Teodoro, Budoni, Nuoro. Taking a route on the way to and the other on the way back is an opportunity we have to improve the awareness of the identity heart of this magnificent land, Sardinia.

It was around the tenth century BC that the city of Tire in Phoenicia (Lebanon today) began to prevail in the Mediterranean trade. The Phoenicians settled in Sardinia around the eighth century BC, where they founded colonies on the seashore, which later became cities, to facilitate their trade. Tharros on the west coast, Bithia, Sulcis (Sant'Antioco), Nora and Karalis (Cagliari) on the south-western coasts. The Phoenicians were not interested in expanding by conquering lands but rather were concerned about commerce and chose to live in peace with the Sardinian population. Metals and other products drew their trade attention and practised with the local population what is called the Gift Exchange, which was not exactly giving and receiving gifts, but establishing a relationship of commitments, which could be repaid with favours or concessions. In this form of exchange, the Sardinian tribal chiefs enhanced their power and one of their own tribes. 

Tharros was then founded by the Phoenicians in the eighth century BC where a Bronze Age Nuragic village was already existing. The sign of a stable settlement is assumed by the open-air sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Astarte, the tofet, where hundreds of urns containing ashes of children and new-borns and animals were found. While strolling through the remains of Tharros in this splendid open-air museum, you can breathe the Sardinian history and at the same time be enchanted by the culture of the civilizations of the past.

After the Phoenicians, Tharros was occupied and expanded by the Carthaginians and, following the Punic Wars, it was conquered by Rome. During the imperial age the aqueduct, the baths and the basalt paved streets were built. Once the Western Roman Empire fell, Tharros was dominated by the Vandals first and by the Byzantines later and then battered by the Saracens’ raids. 

It was the capital of the Arborea Judicatures, Eleanor of Arborea and when the Judges moved their capital to safer  Oristano in 1071, the population gradually abandoned the town opting for Oristano, thus sanctioning the end of the ancient Center.

And as it was said: "e sa cittad'e Tharros, portant sa perda a carros", literally "from the city of Tharros they transported the stones with wagons (ie in large quantities)", demonstrating the fact that Oristano was built with the vestiges of the ancient Phoenician colony.

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Written by Daniela Toti

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