The first time I saw the horrifying scene of Pompeii ruins was in the Singapore National Museum at the end of 2010 when they held an exhibition dedicated to this terrible event that occurred a long time ago. The ruins are part of UNESCO’s world heritage site, located in Pompei Municipality, a city in Naples, Campania, Italy.
The city of Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, along with Herculaneum and the surrounding areas in 79 AD. It was estimated that there were more than 10,000 people living in Pompeii and surroundings at that time and the catastrophe had killed around 2000 Pompeiians. Despite everything that had happened, the site displayed an exceptional example of ancient Roman life that was frozen at the moment of the disaster.
The site area consists of nine regions: The South, The Southeast (Amphitheatre and Gym or Palestra), The East, The Northeast, The North, The Northwest, The West (Forum and Municipal Buildings), and The Southwest (Theatres), and The Centre.
Once you decide to come here, here are some suggestions to see while you are strolling there:
The Stabian Baths
This was the oldest thermal baths in the city. Its sections were divided for men and for women and built in three parts. The rooms had hot water running through the walls and there was also varying water temperature, including the cool one. To add, most rooms were decorated with excellent workmanship and unique art.
The Forum or The Main Square
If you ask where they centralized their political and cultural activities, the answer is this. With rectangular open space and cross-shaped designed courthouse, this zone was also the center of marketplace and bathhouses. This was the main square and the first thing I saw when I arrived there.
Known as the oldest Roman amphitheater, it was built around 70 BC. Yes, this was even before the Rome Colosseum. It was famous for its gladiatorial contests and life in Pompeiian culture.
The amphitheater was enabled to host up to 20,000 spectators. Sadly, after there was a bloody riot between the Pompeiians and the people of Nocera in 59 A.D., the arena was closed.
Villas, Temples and Houses
Other than the main attractions, you should also definitely see the elegant constructions located in these heritage sites. Numerous villas, temples, and houses will tell you the story of ancient Roman civilization and lifestyle, from the modest ones to the spectacular luxurious ones.
Among those, you’ll find: The Villa of Mysteries (with 40,000 square feet area and 60 rooms, from bedrooms to kitchens and servants’ sections), The House of Neptune and Amphitrite (completed with a fountain of colorful mosaics of The God of Sea, Neptune and Amphitrite, his wife), and The Temple of Apollo (since 120 BC and dedicated to the famous Greek and Roman God, Apollo).
It took me nine years to finally be able to have one day trip to this extraordinary heritage, from the first time I knew about it during Christmas time in 2010 to the visiting day during Christmas time in 2019. Honestly, I haven’t even visited everything properly as the area is gigantic and I believe one time was not enough.
This place exhibits perfectly different aspects of the old Roman period: its social, political, economic, and religious life. Have you been there? If not, this might be where you want to be once the pandemic crisis ends, especially if you are a huge fan of ancient history and archaeology.