Stones which speak

From the archeological point of view , the Dorgali and cala gonone territories constitute a vast open book. One can read about mysterious traces left by peoples and civilizations who, in the past , lived on the island.

In this area , one can find imposing menhirs, mysterious Domus de Janas, original dolmens out of basalt stone or limestone , majestic Nuraghes which look right into the sea or as peaks on top of mountains, highly inhabited and wide bronze era villages, as well as elegant graves (Tombe dei Giganti).

A wide variety of elements, their well-preserved conditions, the presence of skilled guides, well-positioned street signs, equipped paths, represent the archeological appeal of this town

The “belle époque” of the stone age, the houses of the fairies

There is no doubt that la “ belle époque “ of the Sardinian history can be found during the Neolithic period (IV-III millennium b.c), the “ happy age of black gold”, as it has been called by archeologists because of the intense trade of obsidian , a volcanic stone, out of which lethal arrow points were made .

These were fundamental weapons for a people which based its economy on hunting. The fact that there have been found fifty-four Domus de Janas , directly carved on stones with only the use of pickaxes , is witness to a strong human presence I such an ancient period of time I the Dorgali area.

The Domus de Jamas also called “houses of the fairies” according to a popular mythological tradition, are small tombs , where the remains of the dead used to be buried . They mostly consist of one single small room but Domus with intercommunicating-rooms exist too. Besides , important necropolis made up of several domus , such as the COCA’e Jamas one , were also found. This site constitutes a group of 8 domus. It can be reached by the state road nbr, 125, direction Orosei , turning at its Km. 211,5.

Among the many domus in town we advise visiting the Pirischè Domus de Janas, easy to reach by the mount-ring road . here , a signaled dirt road leads after 1 Km , directly to the small monument located at the border of the road.It is made from basaltic rock slip.Its rectangular sepulchral room is separated by a wall.The important domus de Janas is also very interesting. Its located near Dorgali in the road which leads to the Oddoene area.

 

People who came from the north , the dolmens

The word “ dolmen” is Breton . it was used to mean a particular burial construction made by northern European civilizations, especially in North West France , even if compared to the huge monumental European megalith , they appear to be smaller in Sardinia. They can be found in mountain areas, as well as in the high plateaus.

It is known that there are 14 dolmens in Dorgali , 6 of which are still in very good shape and complete.

The most important one is the Motorra dolmen. It is located 400 m. away from Km. 208 of the state road nbr. 125 , which leads to Orosei .the path is indicated by red arrows. Its made of 8 basalt stones displayed on a circle and covered by a big basalt stone slab. This construction was made around the year 2100b.c (Copper Era , culture of bell- shape vases), even if some older hand-made potteries have been found there believed to belong to the Ozieri civilization (recent Neolithic).

Dolmens were also built near to the sea. The Monte longu one appears to be very interesting because it is limestone-built. This site can be reached through a path starting from the second hairpin curve in the road Dorgali- Cala Gonone.

 

Towers that challenge the sky : Nuraghes

The nuraghe is a very well-known Sardinian symbol. It is actually its most representative monument, which recalls its millenary history . its construction is quite impressive. It can reach 20 m ,of height. The most important Nuraghes can even count 15 interconnect towers. These constructions were built by the dry-stone technique (“pietra a secco “), without any cohesive material. So , it seems unbelievable that they have survived completely up to our times. They represent a real prehistoric architectural jewel and document the high developmental level reached by the bronze civilization.

The Dorgali areas is rich I architectonic elements of the nuragic civilization ( Bronze Era), as is shown by the strong concentration of Nuraghes (40) , nuragic villages (more than 60)and megalithic tombs (more than 30).

Nuraghes are always built in strategic positions : hidden inside a cavern or in a check-position above the rivers, as well as sea-dominant . They decorate most of the 225 sq.km, of the Dorgali’s country-side. The presence of many nuragic settlements in cala gonone proves that the nuragic civilization was not absolutely hidden on the mountains or not open to cultural exchanges. The fact that the nuraghe arvu village was of large dimensions 8 the archeologist taramelli counted 120 huts in the 20’s), the presence of the nuraghe favorite ( just a few meters away from the palmasera beach), as well as the presence of the Nuragheddu village and the nuraghe Mannu clearly show, on the contrary, high demographic growth on the Sardinian east coast during the bronze era up to the roman period.

We advise visiting the nuraghe Mannu village. It can be reached by taking the road which connects cala gonone to Dorgali. A road on the left , right after the first hairpin bend, leads straight to the monument. A guided tour is available within the archeological site.

The small one-tower nuraghe gives a full view of the Orosei Gulf. It is surrounded by many huts excavated during the 90’s by means of a special programme , which combined archeological research and vacations . it made possible the discovery of the nuragic huts which were previously covered both by the vegetation and by square-planted roman ruins. This cultural overlap recalls the Roman colonization. In fact , roman troops occupied this village holding it both as a military outpost and as a trade center. It is documented by the seals o the ceramic finds which prove they came from the north- African roman colonies.

 

The tiscali ghost village

Heading p towards Dorgali , right after the tunnel under the mountain, it is necessary to turn to the left- direction Baunei – and right after turn to the right , down in the oddoene valley. Once the small bridge over S’abba Arva has been crossed , right after it is necessary to turn to the right and about 200 m .a square will be reached. The tiscali path starts right there. It takes around two hours to reach the top of the tiscali mount, walking through oak-trees woods and coal heaver paths.

Right at the top and surrounded by mountain vegetation , one finds a unique view: remains of Nuragic huts lightened by the sun, that filters through a huge natural window, rich majestic oak-tree woods, as well as other particular botanic species, which develop special and strange shapes inside the cavern because of the inner micro-climate. A nuragic village , so well kept inside a cavern? This is an enigma not yet revealed by archeologists, researchers, scientists, which feeds visitors’ fantasy when they look for particular and curious emotions.

Between Micene and Barbagia: the Serra Orrios

The Serra Orrios village is a sanctuary village, the most important religious center Dorgali pre-history. It is located 10 km away from town . it is also famous because of its two small “Megaron” temples and the complex structure of its urban settlement.

The archeological site can be reached through a 400 meter comfortable path. People on wheel chairs , can visit the site too for most of its itinerary. This village still preserves 70 huts in which probably 300 people used to live. The entrance to the village is located at the feast enclosure (40 m diameter), where pilgrims, guests and travelers used to be welcome. It is there where probably rites and religious feasts used to be held, as the first “Megaron” temple suggests. Such a temple is located inside the square and only its foundations are left.

Once the architrave of the entrance has been left behind one finds a horseshoe-shaped vestibule.

Then the second Megaron temple is found. It is more impressive than the first one.It is also bordered by a sacred enclosure and still boasts about 2 meter’s elevation of its former perimetric walls. An arch-shaped architrave rests on its remarkable entrance. A mammillary protome is sculpted on the left of the entrance to evoke the pre-Nuragic cult to mother goddess.

Walking through this settlement, its family-structured urban features appear clear to visitors. Its made of six blocks with 5 or 6 huts displayed on a circle around a common well. Many materials ad remains resulting from the excavations begun in the 20’s prove a strong economic and social life carried on by its inhabitants, who were engaged in cattle breeding , agriculture and arts and crafts activities ( wool spinning and weaving , pottery production and metal manufactory).

 

Giants rest. Megalithic tombs.

The fact that Nuragic collective graves were so monumental has fed popular fantasy and beliefs.

People have thought they were used by fantastic beings.

Scientific research has proved, instead that the tradition of the Nuragic civilization was to build common burial buildings for mortal remains of the town inhabitants.A good example is the tomba dei giganti di thomes (thomes grave) which is found just 6 km away from the Serra Orrios village on the state road nbr. 131 (s.s. 131) direction Olbia/Nuoro.

The site is located at 3 km after the crossing Orosei/Nuoro.It can be reached from the main road, equipped with a big parking lot, where a 400 m. comfortable path stars. The granite central stele shocks because of its height (3,65m). this is a bent border stele and it has a small gate, carved at its base, which symbolically represented the hell entrance , that is the doorway to world beyond the grave. The holy area where the funerary rites took place is bounded by a semicircular exedra made of stone slabs driven in the mortuary room stretches for 11 motors.

 

The archeological museum: a coffer from the past

The small but gracious civic archeological museum is hosted in the primary school building, located in the Dorgali’s main road ( via lamarmora).

In the showcase displayed in its rooms it guards materials found in many caves and archeological sites. A collections of obsidian and silixarrow points introduce visitors to a trip into the past.

The Neolithic fine and well decorated potteries, a bone-made idol, brassards to protect archers’ wrists, pickaxes for excavation, axes and stone blades, remains of votive food preserved inside pots found in caves show the pre-historical everyday life of those peoples.

The museum also displays show cases dedicated to the nuragic civilization , exhibiting functional steatite melting matrixes, a phallic symbol out of stone to witness the importance of the fertility cult, as well as a wide quantity of wool processing spindles.

Phoenician jewelry exhibited here was found deeper than 100m.inthe abyss of the virgins (abisso delle verigini) in the Ispinigoli cave.

Such jewelry is witness to Phoenician landing on the Sardinian coasts made by the fast ships of this mysterious people of sailors and tradesmen.

Colored vitreous paste necklaces , as well as elegant earrings give precious value to the showcase in the second room. The visit continues with several bronze tools (a votive bell, brooches and pins, axes of raisd borders) and objects found in caves ,modeled in beautiful aesthetic shapes by calcareous erosion activity. In the third room ancient roman coins can be admired, as well as oil-lamps , a copy of the bronze diploma of the Sardinian mercenary tunila , who used to fight for the roman empire army. At the end of the visit it is also possible to see submarine findings. The museum is open all the year.

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Cala Gonone portale dedicato alla frazione a mare: risorse turistiche