Visit to Pompei

About ten years ago I was in my way to visit the famous ancient city of Pompei. I was in business trip in Rome and decided to try my luck. I picked a fast train from Termini and started my journey towards Naples on sunny Saturday morning. Train was really fast and before high noon I stood on Naples railway-station trying to find my way to local trains. After some tryouts I was walking rapidly inside railway-station narrow passage to east and finally got the ticket to local train. There I was standing with several tourists and also local people. Local trains here that circle around coastal are are their own story. They are very simple and crowded and not too comfortable. But the main thing – traveling – goes well. Soon I was standing inside train and find myself chatting with old couple from USA. I remember still how excited the old man was when he was waiting train to arrive on Pompei. He said – I wan to get on the top of the Vesuvius! I have never been there and probable will never go. There I was standing nearly as excited and remembered all those photos that I had seen on my history books. I was really thrilled to see those on my own eyes with these nice summer day. But soon after some 25 minutes we arrived on “Pompei Scavi – Villa Dei Misteri”. This was my station and all tourists jumped off the train – except those who went to Sorrento. There I was standing beside small village station and started to walk along the street towards the entry to Pompei – Porta Marina. When I walked along street sun was already shining strongly and I saw many boutiques selling fruits – oranges and lemons. Their perfect colors promised a lot from this sunny day. And then I was standing there near entry – there was already a queue of people standing and waiting to buy their tickets. And then I looked further and saw the first glimpse of ancient city of Pompei – and Porta Marina. For some seconds I felt a strange feeling inside me – kind of excitement and fulfilment same time. Yes – I guess it was happiness. Finally I was here and I would see with my own eyes how ancient Pompei really looked.

DSC00943Porta Marina was one of the gates into Pompei. Probably sea shore was here on ancient Roman times. City is located on small hill as we can see here. See the flowering bushes and green surroundings.

DSC00947Perfect – I thought when nice odor of roses was floating on hot summer breeze over me.

Finally I got my tickets and started to walk the street through the gate. I also took one photo towards east when I saw the local wonder – Vesuvius. Here it stands but surprisingly far from the city not as close as all movies want to show it. In Roman times it had also the top but it exploded and probably got scattered all around the region. maybe we stand on that ground here today.

DSC00344Far aways lies sleeping beauty and beast – Vesuvius. It can destroy whole region but another hand it is kind of beautiful. One can see that outside of city walls there are lot of small booths and houses. Maybe some for living, some for stores and some for business…

About Pompei. It is a kind of strange city. It’s origin are everything else than Roman. It history dates far back before Roman armies appeared here. Of course first dwellers were local tribes men. They built first villages and started to develop it further. Here bay of Naples offered lot of fish and old volcano ground gave several harvest every year. But then came Creek people. They took the land and started to build also many other cities in southern Italy. Their time took here several hundreds years. Then a new nation from north came here to take more fruitful lands – the Etruscans. They took city of Pompei and also regions nearby. They were the masters of city more than hundred year. But in big naval battle Creek succeeded to destroy them together with Syracuse. And Etruscan period was over here and in general their era was going to end. After some hundred years a new power entered here from mountains nearby – Samnites. They were a latin tribe which mainly were living in high mountain areas in middle part of Italy. They took the rich city of Pompei and fought seriously against rising Roman power. Samnite wars lasted several hundred years but finally city of Rome with their allies won and conquered Samnite imperium. Roma was now rising over all ancient tribes in Italy. So also Pompei came under Roman rule. But it’s inhabitants were not Romans and it’s history was in other cultures than Romans. So maybe it was not a miracle that when Roman civil war broke they went on the side of rebel cities. These cities wanted to have equal citizens rights than Roman people. And why not – they gave money and soldiers fro Rome to conquer world. But the rebel side lost the war but in the end they got what they wanted equal rights. However for cities that lost the war came some punishment. They were Romanized and they got new leaders and veterans from Roman army to settle them inside city. So after this they would not rebel anymore. But this story tells that Pompei was rich of old history – not a pre latin city. It makes it even more interesting for tourists.

DSC00956When one enters the city from Porta Marina first things we see is the temple of Apolli on left.

DSC00960Next there comes the big forum. Here people use to meet and do business. Once the forum was surrounded by high buildings.

DSC00961A temple. But what temple of many … can’t remember anymore…

DSC00969This man has sit over 1900 years and left in history. Caught by ash and probably suffocated. After many years covered with hardened ash and then mold casted with gypsum plaster. And here he is again…

DSC00971A big gate from forum to eastern part of city – towards bath house and house of mystery.

DSC00979A very well preserved bath house. Not a big one and suddenly appears in front of visitor. Looks very nice…

DSC00974This must have been a pool for hot or cold baths…

DSC00991Nearby is a place that looks fast food place. Here nearly every house has some boutiques in front near streets. Here they may have served some soups and stews and of course wine…

DSC00993When goin to house of mystery there is one very nice looking house. Probably a domus of very wealthy citizen. It is spacious.

DSC00992Good part in pompei are the water pools. There are many and probably from Roman times. So at least fresh water has been available for all. There was nearby an aqveduct bringing water into city. Probably lead inside by lead pipelines.

DSC00994Of course hot bread was the most important source of food in the city. To bake it one needed to grind grains. Here we can see bakery where grains were first grinded to flour. Surely by slavery power.

DSC00116A familiar picture from school book. Nice walkaway through streets. Especially when it was raining and street were dirty. Though I suspect that it did not rain too often in Pompei… looks very dry…