Domus de Janas

Domus de Janas - Anghelu Ruiu, 07041 Alghero SS, Italia

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Le domus de janas’ (“domus’ = house, “janas’ = faeries or witches).
In Sardinia, there are approximately two thousand in all of these sepulchers dug out of the rock; by popular tradition they have been dubbed domus de janas (“house of faeries’), small dwellings inhabited by legendary tiny creatures who tirelessly wove splendid cloths with their precious golden looms while singing sweet melodies

The custom of digging tombs out of rocks is widespread through the island and is proof of the ability of the craftsmen who were capable – with a few crude instruments – of carving trachite rock or sandstone, preferrably in the folds of the hills or in slightly elevated planes, as is the case of Anghelu Ruju. This type of burial shows the intentions of the builders to reproduce the dwellings of the living by reproducing in relief there in the stone walls the skirting board, wooden beams of the dual-slope ceilings and all of the other architectonic elements of the wooden house. Apparently there were specific religious and cultural views regarding the reproduction of domestic architecture within funerary architecture so that the dwelling and the place in which the remains were kept could be united. In the walls have been sculpted various religious symbols, such as fake doors, which signaled a passageway to the beyond, and the horns and protomes of the bull, a schematic representation of Taurus, who supposedly protected the sleep of the deceased.

The Anghelu Ruju Necropolis (3500-1800 B.C.)
The Anghelu Ruju site houses the largest hypogeic necropolis in Sardinia, with largest number of tombs so far uncovered: 38 multi-roomed small caves dug ouf sandstone. The rooms show typical elements of Neolithic religious symbology of the Mediterranean area. Red ochre is also widely used, the color of blood and of its regeneration. Of particular interest is tomb 28; on the sides of its main door are sculpted symbols associated with the divine couple “Bull-Earth Mother’: two protomes of the two-horned bull with a stylized, rectangular head with concentric circles engraved in them.

The entire complex is located at “I Piani’, 9 km from the sea on a vast plain cut across by the “Rio Filibertu’ (River Filibertu).
How to get there: take the “strada statale 127bis’ crossing through the “Petraia’ quarter of the city, up to the crossing of “Maria Pia’. At the crossing, you must head in the direction of Porto Torres. After having gone about 10 Km on the “road of the two seas’, you will see the entrance to the Necropoles on the left.

The Santu Pedru Necropolis (3500-1800 B.C.)
The plan is a perfect balance between nature and the man-made, a harmonious space delineated by the reds and whites of the rocks and the greens of the Mediterranean scrub.

The rock necropolis “Santu Pedru’ is made up of 10 hypogeums dug out of the rickety tuff rock of the southern Santu Pedru hill. The necropolis was re-used as a place of worship during Late Antiquity (VI-VII A.D.), when the tomb was transformed into a church in honor of Saints “Pietro’ and “Lucia’.
The entire complex is located at “I Piani’, 9 km from the sea on a vast plain cut across by the “Rio Filibertu’ (River Filibertu).
How to get there: after exiting Alghero, take the SS 127 for Uri and Ittiri; after passing the turn-off for Olmedo, carry on for about 2.5 Km. At the end of a long straight-away and immediately after a curve to the right, at the km 24,5 sign, you will find the entrance of the main tomb on the left.


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Ufficio Informazioni turistiche

Ufficio di Informazioni Turistiche della Città di Alghero
The Official Tourist Centre of Alghero

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