Nuraghe are everywhere in Sardinia and the fact they are still standing is amazing; being built without mortar they are basically massive stone cairns.
The earliest are just that with perhaps a corridor inside them but they developed into these enormous complex castle-like structures with massive rooms and stairways within the walls and flat roofs supporting corbels. They are amazing things to see and intriguing because no one knows exactly what they were for and as they left no written records there is no way to know!
Su Nuraxi (Barumini)
This is the largest and best excavated of the Nuraghe sites. Built between the 17th and 13th century BC it had three central rooms on top of each other and was originally about 19 metres tall. Even now it is quite staggering.
The central ‘keep’ was surrounded by 4 smaller towers which enclosed a courtyard with a well. There was another wall outside that with 7 towers on it.
The well courtyard was a regular feature of the ‘keeps’ in the Nuraghe.
Outside the ‘keep’ was an extensive town of some 100 round houses although later square ones were apparently attribbed to the Romans.
Some of the buildings outside the fort appeared to have water basins surrounded by seats in proximity to an oven or furnace. The theory is they were some form of sauna.
The towers was topped off with corbels, supported by the weight of stones placed on top of them, again, no mortar.
The Nuraghe Losa site is larger in extent than Barumini but less well excavated and is surrounded by a wall enclosing an area of about 3.5 hectares. From the outside the Nuraghe appears to be one large triangular tower, but is in fact a central tower with three smaller ones included in the main structure. Within the walls are a system of stairs and corridors linking the various elements of the tower with just the weight of the stones keeping it all together.
Of everything we’ve seen in Sardinia so far I think these Nuraghe are the most impressive. They were built at the same period in history as the New Kingdom in Egypt but apparently in complete isolation, there being nothing else like them outside Sardinia. They are intriguing and quite enigmatic, more so as there is no way to understand why they were built. Well worth seeing.