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  • Day44

    Parco Archeologico di Paestum

    October 12, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    After dropping off our bags we made our way to Parco Archeologico di Paestum, the site of three large temples dating from about 550 to 450BC. It was amazing seeing the huge temples in the distance as we walked towards them. They are in such great condition and have been well preserved. The whole ancient city of Paestum covers an area of approximately 120 hectares, but only the 25 hectares that contain the three main temples and the other main buildings have been excavated.

    The oldest of the three temples is the Temple of Hera, begun in about 560BC. It is the only Greek temple dating to a period of crucial importance to the formation of Greek architecture to have been preserved in such good condition. Seeing it standing out against the green grass and blue sky, it is a very striking structure.

    The largest of the temples, and the best preserved, is the Temple of Neptune, built in about the mid fifth century BC. The amazing thing is the construction as it is built of enormous blocks held together with simple dowels, without the use of mortar, enabling the building to withstand earthquakes and other natural calamities.

    What was even more amazing is that we were able to climb the ancient, and very tall, stairs and stand inside this structure, and just be in awe of the size and strength of the building. It just blows your mind to think we are standing were people stood before Christ. The only disappointing part about it was the group of youths taking selfies and making fun of other tourists in there. They would not move to allow other people to take photos of the temple. Very ignorant and they did dampen our experience.

    Next to the Temple of Neptune is the Temple of Athena. While not is as good condition as the Temple of Neptune, it is still amazing to see the large structure still so well preserved and the view of the three temples is very impressive.

    Other structures in the park are the remains of Roman Forum, the amphitheatre, even the main street of the Roman city. We could walk amongst the remains of the walls of their homes, assembly spaces and baths. The sense of history provokes such a feeling of awe and we explored the site for some time, just soaking it all in.

    Even though the park was shut at night-time, we wandered back after dinner to take some photos of the temples lit up. They look just as impressive in the dark. While this stop was off the beaten track on not really on our way to our next stop, I am so glad we made the detour to see this impressive part of history.
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