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Pompeii developed from a small market town used by the Oscans about 600 B.C. It was situated near the sea, by the mouth of the Sarno, on a plateau formed by prehistoric lava. These settlements of the Oscan-Etruscan period were protecteded by a city wall, which was approx. 3.2 km long.
Despite some Greek immigration at that time and the establishment of a Doric temple on the site of the Foro Triangolare (directly beside the theatre) Pompeii has never been a Greek city.

At the end of the 5th century B.C. increasing immigration of Samnites (tribes from the mountain regions, which enclose the gulf of Naples) caused the city to now be ruled by these immigrants. Starting from 200 B.C. (after the 2nd Punic War) the seaport (before the eruption of 79 Pompeii was situated by the sea) developed into an important commercial centre with a substantial textile manufacturing business.

This period of prosperity brought into being the art-historically interesting basilica, which served as market hall and hall of justice (approx. 130 B.C.  ), the well preserved small theatre with 800 seats, which was roofed at that time, the thermal baths and many magnificent mansions.
During the civil wars in the 1st century B.C. Pompeii was allied to the confederates. The city was besieged in 89 B.C. but withstood. In the year 80 B.C. Pompeii got the status of a Roman colony with Latin as the official language. Also from this year dates the Roman amphitheater , which offered seats for 20,000 spectators. It is the oldest preserved Roman amphitheater and measures 136 m in length and 104 m in width. As with the Colosseum in Rome the spectators were protected by a tent-type roof.

The Romans appreciated Pompeii increasingly as a summer-resort. But as a consequence the townscape was more and more shaped by speculators and profit hunters. Tenement houses, brothels and graffiti spread out - a development, which is certainly not unfamiliar to us.
Also murderous, violent hooliganism existed at that time: In the year 59 A.D. it resulted in a massacre, in the amphitheater, of spectators from Nuceria (today Nocera). Thereupon a complaint in Rome led to a ten-year prohibition of any shows in the amphitheater imposed, by emperor Nero.

The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD has not only buried the city completely under volcanic ash but also had the consequence that Pompeii is today situated a distance from the sea.
The excavation of Pompeii started in 1748 under the rule of Charles of Bourbon. But it took more than hundred years till 1869 that a more systematic approach (and better means) led to considerable progress in excavating.
The preservation of the ecavations under volcanic ash offer today a unique and to a large extent complete snapshot from that time. Elsewhere only monumental public buildings are kept preserved. But in Pompeii you can see quarters with villas of wealthy people, as well as quarters with ordinary houses, shops, restaurants, bakeries etc. Here you can, during even a short visit, get a vivid impression of the everyday life of an ancient Roman city.
If you never visited Pompeii before you should not miss the opportunity. Pompeii is a top World Heritage Site. Of course the excavation area is overcrowded during high season. Nonetheless a visit is thoroughly worthwhile. If you are not well prepared it is certainly worth joining one of the paid guides.
It is not difficult to get to Pompeii even without a car. The station "Pompei Scavi" of the Circumvesuviana railway line Naples-Sorrento is located close to the entrance "Porta Marina" of the excavation area. The Railway station of the national railways "fs" (if you come e.g. from the area around Paestum) is situated also within walking distance (about 20 minutes).

Many thanks to Lynne for the revision and correction of the preceding English text.

Pompeji - Links

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Mappe   Maps   Karten
Pompei  (marketplace.it/pompeionline/)

Orario   Time table   Fahrplan
Circumvesuviana (Sorrento-Napoli-Sorrento)  (virtualtorre.com)
Circumvesuviana  (vesuviana.it) -> "Rete e orari"  Download (-> PDF-Timetable" -> select station)
 SITA Bus (http://www.sitabus.it/)   All Sita-Bus-Timetables in Campania as PDF-Download    Fahrpläne aller SITA-Buslinien in Kampanien als PDF-Download
Campaniatrasporti  (campaniatrasporti.it)
Traghetti (Capri, Ischia), Bus, treno (Circumvesuviana) é più   Ferries (Capri, Ischia), buses, Circumvesuviana train and more   Fährschiffe (Capri, Ischia), Busse, Circumvesuviana-Bahn und weitere Fahrpläne

 Pompeji links in  Italiano English  Deutsch      

   Links - in Italiano

Pompei  (pompei.it)
Pompei - archeologia  (http://www.pompeiisites.org)  Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei - sito ufficiale. Informazione archeologica, imaggini e guide su Pompei e Ercolano - con Ercolano virtual tour (solo con quicktime player).
Pompei - Pompeionline  (pompeionline.net)

   Links - in English

Pompeii - archeology  (http://www.pompeiisites.org)  Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei - official website. Archeological information, images and guides to Pompeii and Ercolano - with Ercolano virtual tour (Quicktime player needed).
Pompeii - plumbing  (theplumber.com/pom.html)  Special: Baths and plumbing.

   Links - auf Deutsch

Pompeji  (pompeji.de) Gute deutsche Seite zu Pompeji
Pompeji - heute und vor 2000 Jahren  (seniorinnen.ch/ph/heinz/amalfi/pompeji2.htm) Sehenswerte Seite aus der Schweiz.

Bücher zu   Pompeji    Bei Amazon ist der Versand von Büchern normalerweise (außer bei Fremdanbietern) völlig frei von Versandkosten.

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Pompeji - Der letzte Tag.

Sehr gute BBC-Dokumentation.

Feuerregen auf Pompeji

Kinder & Jugendbuch - ab 8 J.
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