Sunday, 13 September 2015

Vesuvius and Pompei

One of the highlights of our holiday in June to Sorrento was the fantastic views of the active volcano of Vesuvius across the bay. It was so interesting to climb part of it and see it at close quarters. Vesuvius last erupted in 1944 and is thought that another eruption could happen at any time.....





Has anyone else been up a volcano? It was a bit different to what we expected.We were surprised to see so many plants growing and learnt that in the spring there is a huge number of butterflies seen on the slopes.The very top of the volcano looked more like a huge quarry and  there wasn't much to see except one wisp of steam. The  burning core of the volcano is about 5 miles underground.


 Over 3,500,000 people live below the volcano  Those living closest to it have been encouraged to leave with cash incentives. The land is very fertile, however, producing good crops and people don't want to move. There are evacuation plans if the volcano starts to shows signs of an eruption and with today's technology this is constantly monitored.


There was no warning when the biggest eruption occurred in 79 AD. This area was well known for earthquakes and earth tremors. When the eruption occurred a huge mushroom of ash, stones and dust was pushed into the sky 12 miles high. For nearly a day this fell on Pompei. Then suddenly the eruption changed and an avalanche of molten rock rushed down the mountainside straight for Pompei.  The population of Pompei was estimated to be about 20,000 sadly those residents that were unable to escape were either killed by ash and stones, buildings collapsing above them or were suffocated by the inhaling a mix of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen chloride and sulphur dioxide gas. The neighbouring town of Herculaneum was also buried in a mountain of ash.



Pompei was rediscovered in the 16th century but exploration did not begin until 1748 and has continued to this day, of the 66 hectares only around 45 hectares have been excavated. We had seen pictures of Pompei but never realised how large it is. We spent a few hours there and only saw a tiny part of it.



This is a picture of Vesuvius that was found in Pompei - they didn't even realise that it was a volcano. Notice how different the shape of of it is compared with today.







My husband isn't particularly keen on history, but even he found it so fascinating to appreciate the lives of ordinary people from so long ago. The lives of these people have been so well preserved and there was a wealth of different architecture, paintings and mosaics. You could even see the remains of an election poster on the outside of one of the shops.



It was amazing to see that town planning was very advanced and the layout is one you could still recognise in our towns today, The long straight roads are a familiar sight to us as Dorchester  (where I work) was once a Roman town.


The technology of the public thermal baths seemed so advanced with not only hot and cold water but the rooms were also kept warm by circulating air through the wall cavities.The  roofs were also designed with ridges to allow the condensation to run down from the ceiling.





It was a such a popular destination with so many visitors there.  You could spend a few days here and still not see and learn everything! If you are interested in finding out more - details and short videos produced by the BBC can be seen here.



 Thank you as always for popping over to visit me and welcome to my new followers.Wishing you a good week.
Sarah x

26 comments:

  1. Ooh, thank you for sharing these Sarah, it's somewhere I have always wanted to visit.

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    1. I do hope you are able to visit there one day, it was fascinating. Sarah x

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  2. Fascinating! You were brave to climb up the volcano.

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  3. I visited Pompei when I was much, much, younger and remember being bowled over by the antiquity of it all - I think that it sowed the seeds of my passion and interest in all things connected with the ancient world.
    I recall that we flew into Naples on a perfect clear sky day and on arrival the plane had to stack for about 20 minutes before landing. We flew round and round the crater of Vesuvius and were able look right down into it - it is a memory that I shall never forget.

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    1. Those are such wonderful memories. When we flew into Naples it was dark and so you could only see the outline of Vesuvius. I always enjoy your posts about the ancient world and I can understand how Pompei inspired you to discover more. Sarah x

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  4. I have done the Vesuvius climb as well and agree, a bit of an anti climax when you get there! I think Rosemary probably had the best view from a plane. On a later trip we climbed part way up Etna when it was actually erupting. Needless to say we didn't get very close to the summit but I do remember the smell of sulphur and the smoke. Lucky that we get warnings these days.

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  5. I'm not too keen on history either but Pompeii must be fascinating. Somewhere I've wanted to see for a long time, I'd love to visit Vesuvius too. That first photo is beautiful!

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  6. Very interesting to read about. Have never visited there. But would like to some day. I really like your blog. Have a great week ahead.

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  7. This is hugely interesting! I love the photos you took and I am resolved to visit there myself!x

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  8. Fascinating. And the pictures are absolutely beautiful. Nope, don't think I'd be interested in living near a volcano......

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  9. Wow. I had no idea--I just watched one of the videos about the impending devastation that no one knows when will take place! The 3.5 million people are at risk when it does erupt again. And even if every one had time to evacuate there would be 3.5 million refugees because the area would be uninhabitable afterwards. I can where your visit there would make an impact on you.

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  10. Very interesting! I am a history buff and the story of Pompeii has always fascinated me - particularly the archaeological finds. Thanks for the link too, I'm going to watch a few of those! xox

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  11. Very interesting, I have not been there. And no, I don't want live near an vulcano.

    Sigrun

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  12. I loved this post. Mt. Vesuvius was not on my list of places to see. I might just have to add it.

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  13. Thank you, a fascinating insight to Pompeii. I wouldn't want to live beneath the volcano though but it would be an interesting place to visit. xx

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  14. Hi Sarah, this is very interesting. I've watched a few programmes on TV about Pompei and Mount Vesuvius, it's very interesting, and one place I still very much want to visit. Lovely photos, although terrifying for the residents who with the heat of the volcano were forever embedded into the molten lavae and turned to stone...fascinating... Have a lovely week. Sharon

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  15. Hello Sarah,
    This is such an interesting post. I really enjoyed reading it. I have never been to Pompeii.. one day maybe !!
    The speed with how the lava and rocks came down was amazing.. how people were turned into stone.. Those poor people must have been petrified..
    Am slowly trying to catch up.. My hand is getting better.
    wishing you too a lovely week.
    val x

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  16. Very interesting and the photos good. You seem to have found something different to write about and take photos of. I visited the Pompeii exhibition in 2013 at the British Museum and have seen several documentaries on the subject but have never seen nor heard about the grooves in the ceiling for the condensation to flow down in.
    I have been reading your Blogs recently and enjoy seeing your flower photos and scenes of Dorset not to mention the photos of your little dog
    Hilary

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  17. Beautiful photo's of the Vesuvius and Pompei Sarah! It's a part of Italy I never visited before and which looks very interesting. If only for it's interesting history and it's delicious food :-)

    Happy week!

    Madelief x

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  18. We visited Pompeii 10 years ago and found it utterly fascinating. I know they ask you not to, but I just HAD to touch one of the pillars, something that had been touched or leaned upon by a human being nearly 2,000 yers before. We too marvelled at the technology and wondered where all that knowledge went - the world could be a very different place if all that had been retained and expanded on. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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  19. I visited Pompeii many years ago and loved it. Recently I watched a brilliant series about the city on BBC by Mary Beard . Sadly I didn't get to travel up Vesuvius. At Easter I did manage to drive and cable car up to the top of Etna. It was covered in snow but at the top the series of craters were smoking...very bizarre. Unlike Vesuvius Etna erupts all the time. I had only just reached home from my holiday to see pictures on the news of its latest eruption ...scary!
    B xx

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  20. Dearest Sarah! GOOD MORNING! I would love to see this place for myself one day; the history so rich, the air thick with secrets from the past. Lovely tour, and good to visit you Anita

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  21. What a wonderful trip. My son visited with his primary school a couple of years ago and was absolutely fascinated by the place (and Herculaneum). He is desperate to re-visit and give us a guided tour!

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  22. I almost missed this post, but so glad I scrolled back to see some of what you saw on your trip, Sarah! While being aware of some of the history of the area I have not personally seen it. I appreciate your perspective. While I have not personally explored an active volcano, I do live near Mt. St. Helens that erupted 35 years ago. I lived in NY at the time and I was amazed when the ash cloud from Washington state made its way over the Rocky Mountains and the mid-west plains to where we lived in eastern NY! Thanks for posting! xx

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  23. I have always thought it would be fascinating to visit - certainly looks like it! I hadn't appreciated how bit it is either! Juliex

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  24. Just incredible! What a memorable visit you must have had! Looks like they are actively unearthing more architecture. Is that correct? I would love to visit there.

    I have been up to the top of a few volcanoes in Hawaii, some of which you could see plenty of steam and even some "red" glowing out of it! We have many, many volcanoes nearby in Alaska (and many earthquakes because of it) but most are not accessible by road.

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