Pompeii, a major Roam Empire port near Naples and Mount Vesuvius, was completely covered with ash and destroyed in 79 A.D. by an eruption of the volcanic mountain.
Mount Vesuvius, now dormant, heaped upon Pompeii, with area of 44 hectares, and two hectares of underground cellars, ash and pumice four to six metres in depth. The whole city disappeared from the face of the earth.
It remained completely covered for 1500 years and was accidentally discovered in 1599.
Since then archaeologists have been excavating intact cadavers of humans and animals. Sporadic enforcements to buildings and walls were made to prevent them from collapsing.
Today, Pompeii attracts approximately three million tourists annually and the nearby village Pompeii benefits greatly from tourism.
Trading Greeks or Phoenicians who at the time were the leading merchants in eastern Mediterranean funded Pompeii in the sixth or eighth century B.C possibly.
The city-prospered ad grew under Roman occupation and rule. Romans built the theatre, a swimming pool (natatorium) for bathing, the aqueduct, and the house of gladiators, which unfortunately collapsed in 2010 due to poor maintenance.
Romans also helped lay out the city better, encouraged wine making, introduced the idea of street vending and trattoria (informal food and drink places), and pubic houses for prostitutes (House of Chaste Lovers) where they even had “menus” regarding clients’ position preferences. It collapsed in 2010 due to negligence.
Pompeii’s wine industry was well equipped (according to prevailing standards of the time). The wines were well made in earthenware fermentation vessels buried underground. Like in every site in Italy, you must hire an official guide to explain the history and point out all the historically important places.
Frankly, while in many cities and sites an official guide may be replaced by a thorough guidebook, in Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum (another city that was completely buried by the same eruption) a local guide is a good “investment”.
is a world heritage site under the protection of the Ministry of Culture of Italy, but unfortunately, due to budget constraints, maintenance work has been very erratic and for long stretches non-existent.
Now approximately 30 per cent of Pompeii is considered adequately secured. Expert claim that approximately 350 million Euros are needed to safeguard the excavated ancient city, neither the Italian government nor UNESCO has the means to do it.
For this reason alone, individuals interested in archaeology should make a point of visiting the ruins now before it is too late.
And who knows when or whether Mount Vesuvius will again erupt?