The ancient Roman town of Turris Libisonis, located at the mouth of the Rio Mannu was the precursor to the current Porto Torres. This had been a Roman colony since the 1st century BC and, of all the estates belonging to the Republic and the Empire, it was the only one inhabited by Roman citizens: it proudly held the name of Iulia, linked to the figure of Julius Cesar or of Augustus.
Under the long Roman dominion, the town underwent several urban renewals: building of the road system, three thermal baths, an aqueduct and the creation of a port where trade relationships with Ostia took place. The colony, between the end of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, was second only to Caralis for number of inhabitants, grandeur and maritime traffic. Buildings that will surprise you with their architectural perfection and evocative power are the domus di Orfeo and the Terme di Pallottino thermal baths as well as the central ones, in an area known as Palazzo di Re Barbaro, in which you will find large rooms with baths and elegant mosaics. Between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, the building activity was intensified: you can admire the evolution of these activities as well as the remains of marble decorations, bas-reliefs and statues. In the archaeological area, you will find the remains of dwellings grouped into blocks and tabernae (workshops). The buildings are delimited by paved roads and are partly incorporated and visible in the Antiquarium Turritano, a museum located in a building within this area, not far from the thermal baths, where artefacts and relics found during the excavations are kept: pottery, funeral urns, inscriptions and mosaics.
Around the ancient town, there are vast necropolises: one to the west, on a shore of the Rio Mannu rivulet and another to south, below the current town, while to the east, on the seafront, including the hypogaeum of Tanca Borgona, there are the funerary complexes of Scogliolungo and San Gavino a mare and the tombs of Balai. The graves range from the early Imperial age to the early Christian period, while there is an almost completely intact Roman bridge over the river with seven elegant arches, making it an exceptional feat of engineering.References:
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.