Piscina Mirabilis

Bacoli, Italy

The Piscina Mirabilis was a freshwater cistern on the Bacoli cliff at the western end of the Gulf of Naples. One of the largest freshwater cisterns built by the ancient Romans, it was situated there in order to provide the Roman western imperial fleet at Portus Julius with drinking water.

The cistern was dug entirely out of the tuff cliff face and was 15 metres high, 72 metres long, and 25 metres wide. It was supported by vaulted ceilings and a total of 48 pillars. It was supplied with water from the main Roman aqueduct, the Aqua Augusta, which brought water from sources in Serino near Avellino, 100 kilometres distant, to Naples.

The ancient cistern is currently in private hands, but parts of it may still be visited by the public.

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Details

Founded: 27 BCE - 14 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alessio Guarino (2 years ago)
A location that leaves you breathless, like a cathedral that has been deserted for centuries. Built in the Augustan age in Miseno, on the north-west side of the Gulf of Naples, it was originally a drinking water cistern
Jasmin Bruchmann (2 years ago)
They were really nice. Our class came the wrong day but they still let us in.
Claire Wood (2 years ago)
The site is wonderful, if you can get in. Trying to book an appointment is quite ridiculous as the key is held by a private individual. We called her (she only speaks Italian btw) on Friday and asked if we could visit, we were told it was probably ok but we should call back on Saturday. On Saturday we were told to drive to Bacoli and call from the main square at 12 the next day. When we called on Sunday, we were finally given the instructions of where to meet. As it turned out, the time we'd been given coincided with a large Italian group, which is probably the only reason we were allowed to visit. I've spoken to a lot of people who have tried to book a visit but we're told that only groups are allowed in, which is really sad. The site should be opened to the public at fixed times, even if it's just a couple of times a week instead being held hostage in this way.
Edgar Bordier (2 years ago)
Two thousand years and still intact. Learn some Italian to talk to the owner and book a visit.
Bruno Antonio De Santis (3 years ago)
Amazing place to visit. Even if it's managed by private, it's free to visit.
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Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.