Kamarina was an ancient city on the southern coast of Sicily. It was founded by Syracuse in 599 BC, but destroyed in 552 BC.

The Geloans, however, founded it anew in 461 BC, under the Olympic charioteer Psaumis of Camarina. It seems to have been in general hostile to Syracuse, but, though an ally of Athens in 427 BC, it gave some slight help to Syracuse in 415–413 BC. It was destroyed by the Carthaginians in 405 BC, restored by Timoleon in 339 BC after its abandonment by Dionysius' order, but in 258 BC fell into the hands of the Romans.

Its complete destruction dates from AD 853. The site of the ancient city is among rapidly shifting sandhills, and the lack of stone in the neighborhood has led to its buildings being used as a quarry even by the inhabitants of Gela, so that nothing is now visible above ground but a small part of the wall of the temple of Athena and a few foundations of houses; portions of the city wall have been traced by excavation, and the necropolis has been carefully explored.

The marsh

Just before the Carthaginians razed Kamarina in the 5th century BC, the Kamarinians were plagued with a mysterious disease. The marsh of Kamarina had protected the city from its hostile neighbors to the north. It was suspected that the marsh was the source of the strange illness and the idea of draining the marsh to end the epidemic became popular (the germ theory of disease was millennia in the future, but some people associated swamps with disease). The town oracle was consulted. The oracle advised the leaders not to drain the marsh, suggesting the plague would pass with time. But the discontent was widespread and the leaders opted to drain the marsh against the oracle's advice. Once it was dry, there was nothing stopping the Carthaginian army from advancing. They marched across the newly drained marsh and razed the city, killing every last inhabitant.

The story of the marsh is told by the Roman geographer Strabo and repeated by Carl Sagan in Pale Blue Dot. The story of the city is recounted by the latter author as a lesson: that action guided by fear and ignorance often intensifies the problems it seeks to ameliorate.

Remains

Modern remains are scanty. They include archaic tombs (seventh century BC) and ruins of a temple of Athena. Nearby are tombs of a necropolis from the fifth-fourth century BC. Part of the remains are now in the archaeological museum of Syracuse. The archaeological park includes the remains of a 'Hamman qbel Jamaa' - public baths used before entering the mosque, one of only two known on the island.

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 599 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

AR 6 (12 months ago)
Luigi Saitta (2 years ago)
Quiet place and a stone's throw from the sea. Also in 10min. It can walk to the village of Punta Secca, to enjoy pizza at the pizzeria Island.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".