Syracuse and Necropolis of Pantalica

Syracuse and Necropolis of Pantalica

96100 Syracuse SR, Italy

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On one side the blue sea of ​​the Mediterranean on the other the story unspoiled stretches of the civilizations that settled here in the late 1200 he was born in 1300 a.c.. It's no wonder that Cicero during the Roman conquest of Sicily called Siracusa "the most beautiful cities of Ancient Greece". The Unesco site includes the center of the city of Syracuse, which is affected by the influenza architectural point of view of all the peoples who have settled in this land, and the ancient center of Syracuse, positioned on the Monti Iblei which gave refuge to the inhabitants of the coastal strip forced to flee for the arrival of the Sicilians. The Sicilian city that gave birth to Archimedes, mathematician and physicist of the third century, also it hosted the Caravaggio in his escape from prison in Malta 1608, who painted here Burial of Saint Lucia kept in the homonymous church of S. Lucia at the Sepulcher. Within the oldest urban core, It located in the small island of Ortigia, you can admire the Temple of Apollo, the oldest in Sicily, and the remains of the Temple of Athena, chiamato dagli autoctoni "two columns" because the entire construction remain standing only two columns.


Kind: rock Site Name: Pantalica province: Syracuse Common: Sortino - Ferla present Use: Archaeological park Conservation status: Good

historical information

Much of the information in our possession, around the site of Pantalica, provengono dalle importantissime campagne di scavo promesse tra la fine dell’800 e l’inizio del ‘900 da Paolo Orsi e poi, nearly 50 years of '900 by Luigi Bernabo Brea. Situated between two large quarries, along which they slide respectively, north river Calcinara (or Bottiglieria) and south of the river Anapo, confluendo, give rise to the east to a single stream, in Iblei, the site Pantalica (whose name seems to be derived from Arabic: Buntarigah, which means caves) It is considered one of the first inhabited places of Eastern Sicily, dove, probably one 1250 and the 700 a.C., He developed a kind of monarchical state autochthonous. The Pantalica origins are still unknown, although since the sixteenth century tended to identify the site with mythical places inhabited by the Sicilians as, for example, Erbesso the, yet, Hybla. Certainly the great native civilization was destroyed by the Greek conquerors and only the immense and important necropolis, which has about five thousand graves, It makes us testimony of the size of the complex. The news about the Greek Pantalica are, in reality, lower than those of the protohistoric period, probably because the site was becoming suburb of the city of Syracuse or other poleis while a new site restocking occurred because the Roman persecutions, when some Christian groups settled in the area. During the period of Byzantine rule (probably began around the sixth century), Pantalica saw the foundation not only of villages (like the one called the "Cavetta"), who exploited and expanded the caves of pre-existing cemeteries, and they have often developed around rural churches (the Crucifix cave, St. Micidiario cave, St. Nicolicchio cave), but also the establishment of a military legion. This rebirth of the site, as it happens for other Sicilian rock reality and not just, You see a repopulation of the area under the Arab domination (IX sec.) e, then, a slow abandonment of the site with the end of this phase the Isle. Reports of the times and the Arab occupation modes are practically nonexistent, as well as those about the kind of life that took place in the rock community in the period of this domination. With regard to the Norman period, the only source worthy of faith is that of the chronicler Geoffrey Malaterra that in 1092 It states that there was an Arab community of "Pentargia" site, alongside this can be considered a Bull of Urban II 1093 citing, between the towns of the Diocese of Syracuse also "Pantegra".

General description

Pantalica The site is accessible from Sortino and Ferla; the town and the necropolis, taking place along the walls of the quarry offer a natural setting of great beauty and charm. At the center of the cave inhabited complex poses a plateau whose maximum height is 424 meters, length about 1200 and wide 600, almost in the center, Holds your Anaktoron or palace of the Prince, dating back to proto. Below that plateau, along the sides of the massif, They can see the most impressive traces of human settlement: Byzantine villages to the rests of the proto, the burial caves. Confuse with the tombs and with the proto testimonies are the remains of three villages and three rock churches linked to them: the first is located near the cemetery and has about Cavetta 70 homes in addition to the oratory of the Crucifix cave. The second village is under l`Anaktoron, nella necropoli Sud e ha come centro religioso l`oratorio della grotta di S. Nicolicchio, while the third and largest of these conglomerates cave is placed between the necropolis and the South Filipporto saddle, It composed of more than 150 homes in most rooms and the cave of St. Micidiario.

The cave of the Crucifix

The cave is located along in the path that leads to the North Necropolis. It presents irregular plant tending to rectangle and seems to be composed of two contiguous circles arranged in a non-axial. On the right wall is located in the rectangular apse. In the apse there are remains of a Crucifixion flanked by a female figure, recognizable with the Virgin. Lungo le pareti dell’ambiente di sinistra si nota la figura di San Nicola e una Santa Barbara.

The cave of St. Nicolicchio

The rock compartment is configured as an oratory from the plant rather complex. It consists of a merger of several rooms (probably dug at different times), which appeared as subordinate to the main compartment which extends towards the east where it ends with a central apse and two small niches at the sides of it. Unfortunately, most decorative apparatus is lost, probably due to abrasions inflicted by the Arab invaders but, by the surviving traces can recognize the figures of St. Helena and Boxing Day and a Holy unidentifiable. About the dating of these frescoes are not, But, Few historical and stylistic problems; the Lamb and Messina, But, just by analyzing a certain stiffness and dryness in the way of making the drapery, They suggest to recognize these frescos the oldest evidence of cave painting in Syracuse (VII sec).

The cave of St. Micidiario

Located at the so-called door of Pantalica the church is centrally located between various rooms carved into the rock at different times. The oratory properly so called has a rectangular plan, It ends in the east with an apse flanked by two niches that simulate the minor apses, while the space reserved for the faithful is divided by this, which is configured as a real sanctuary, via a iconostasis. Along the apse wall they notice traces of subsellia while it is particularly interesting the gabled ceiling, that seems to mimic the roofs of churches subdiali. The decoration, Now as fragmentary, It was certainly very rich, much to adorn both the church and the apse. We recognize at least two layers of fresco the lower of which reddish and yellow and the upper turchino. In the apse you can see the figure of the Pantocrator flanked by two angels, while the walls were placed sequentially paratactical the now unreadable Saints host panels except for a possible San Mercurio (according to written in greek Ο ΑΓΙΟΧ ΜΕΡΚ [OURIOCH]


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