Friday, 1 November 2013

Pompei (no trespassing but plenty of derelict buildings in the sunshine!)

In August 2013, I was lucky enough to visit the ultimate derelict town - Pompei in Southern Italy.

The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman town near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania.  Pompeii, along with Hercalaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Iits population was probably approximately 20,000, with a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium and a port.
The eruption was cataclysmic for the town. Evidence for the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens. The site was lost for about 1500 years until its rediscovery in 1599. The objects that lay beneath the city have been well preserved for thousands of years because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of the city. During the excavation, plaster was used to fill in the voids between the ash layers that once held human bodies. This allowed one to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died.
Pompeii has been a tourist destination for over 250 years. Today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.
I could have got an audio guide or guide book and followed this, knowing exactly what each building or column was, but I preferred my usual approach when Urbexing and just wandered around, appreciating the buildings and monuments purely on aesthetic consideration and photographability.
There appeared to be a whole pack of stray dogs, who lived in Pompei and spent much of the day asleep in the shade.
Above is the Temple of Jupiter with Mount Vesuvius in the background (5 miles way).
One of the most interesting parts of the day was seeing the plaster casts of the petrified human remains from the eruption in AD 79.

 Not often you get phallic images carved into the buildings I visit when urbexing!
Although there is plenty of beauty in Pompei, I decided to look for the bits that most people ignore - the parts fenced off, with signs asking you to keep out, as that is more in fitting with what I usually photograph . . .
Ashtray, Pompei style!
Nature starting to fight back!
Pompei - place of historic interest and beauty or "posh" urbex?

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