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Paestum (Paestum): an ancient city of Magna Grecia.

Paestum is an ancient city of Magna Grecia in Italy. The Greeks called him Poseidon. All the churches of the city were grouped around a square. Discovered this place in the beginning of XX century and it became the greatest archaeological discovery of the great Greece of the last century. The exact date of Foundation of Paestum are unknown. Archaeologists call about VII century BC the city was built by the inhabitants of the city of Sybaris, located on the Eastern side of the Italian Peninsula (modern Calabria), who founded several colonies on the Tyrrhenian coast commercial purposes. They wanted to use the new city as a “transit” point for goods imported by sea, and then from Paestum goods could travel overland, which saved time and relieved from the dangerous sea voyage along the “Italian toe”. But in 510 BC, sybaris was completely destroyed. It has shaken the position of Paestum . But the town survived. In the days of Ancient Rome. Paestum remained faithful to him, although most of the Greek cities supported Hannibal. Then the Greek Poseidon was called Paestum . But the city’s harbour overgrown with grass, Paestum mentioned less and less, his glory was heading for the sunset. In the middle Ages have to say about just a few huts, but those have faded into oblivion. The first discovery of Paestum re-occurred in 1524, when the Neapolitan humanist Pietro Summonte the letter mentions about the ancient city with “three churches”.In 1762 on the orders of Charles of Bourbon, started to pave the way and accidentally discovered the ruins of the ancient temple of Hera and the amphitheatre not far from Paestum . The first excavations began in 1907, which gave a new breath to the Paestum archeological Museum.

Paestum was surrounded by a wall that has been preserved almost completely. Its length is 4.5 km, when there were turrets, from which almost nothing left. To enter the city was via 4 doors. The East entrance of the Siren, so named for the fabulous sculpture of the animal. The South entrance is called Justice, he leads into a spacious lobby, protected on two sides by towers. To the West are the Sea gate, facing the sea. The North entrance is called Gold, but it was destroyed in the beginning of XVIII century In the center of a square stood for the people. In Ancient Greece it was called Agora, in Ancient Rome – the forum. Holy and religious site of the ancient city, it housed the tomb of the founder of the city.

In Roman times the forum was erected the temple of the Capitol – the temple of the divine Trinity and the Basilica. The forum is adjacent to the amphitheater and a gym with a pool. The Basilica, or temple of Neptune, dedicated to the goddess Hera, it was the great temple of Paestum. It was built about 460 BC

There is a ruined temple of Ceres (Athena Temple), which was built in 500 BC On the territory of the archaeological site of Paestum, you can see the living quarters of the Greco-Roman period, as well as other temples and structures.

Of particular interest is the Archaeological Museum . opened in 1952. It contains a rich collection of archaeological excavations of Paestum . among them tombstones, vases, frescoes. Dating back to the VII century BC – VII century

One of the most famous exhibits is the tomb of the diver (480-470 BC), which is an example of Greek art. The image can be interpreted as a symbolic transition from life on earth in the realm of the dead.

Archaeological area and Museum Via Magna Grecia – Paestum Museum is open: 8.30-18.45 Closed 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. The excavations are open every day from 8.45, the closing depending on time of year and dark. Ticket € 10 (Museum + excavations)

How to reach Paestum: the Entrance to the archaeological area of Via Magna Grecia 151, in Capaccio. railway Regional train from Naples to Paestum stop. Car: Motorway A3, exit at Battipaglia exit and continue SS18 or SP430.

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