To date, our forays outside the time and cultural boundaries of nuraghic civilisation have been limited to brief glances at what preceded that world, back in prehistory. Now it is time to take a look at a site from a later time: the ancient city of Nora, built by peoples and cultures that flourished on the island after the nuraghic period. Nora is an urban settlement set on the headland of Capo Pula. An isthmus links this tongue of land to the mainland. The scenic impact is breath-taking: our glance wanders between sea and sky, evoking feelings worthy of the greatest poets. The city was founded by the Phoenicians, subsequently occupied by the Carthaginians and finally by the Romans, after 238 BC. The majority of the architectural remains and ruins visible today indeed date back to the Roman occupation. Amongst them we should mention the bath complex and the theatre. But the city as a whole is deeply fascinating, as its structures ruined by the passage of time still convey the feeling of its past life. This site has yielded one of the most ancient Phoenician inscriptions in the whole Mediterranean, dating from about 900 BC. This was long proposed as the date of the city’s foundation. However, recent excavations have questioned this assumption: but it’s still early – perhaps it will always be – to reach a definitive conclusion.
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