About Syracuse Archaeological Site
The Syracuse Archaeological Site (Siracusa) in Sicily contains the impressive remains of the ancient city of Syracuse dating as far back as the eighth century BC.
History of Syracuse Archaeological Site
The city of Syracuse was founded by Greek colonists – heralding from Corinth – in 734 BC. At its height, Syracuse was the most powerful city in Sicily and, according to Cicero, was the ‘most beautiful’ of all Greek cities. By the fifth to fourth century BC, Syracuse controlled Sicily, especially during the reign of Dionysus the Elder (405BC-367BC).
In the third century BC, the Romans laid siege to Syracuse and, after three bitter years, it came under Roman rule in 212 BC as a province. One of the most famous residents of Syracuse, the mathematician Archimedes, died during this attack.
Remaining a part of the Roman Empire, the city remained stable for hundreds of years until the fall of the Western Empire. Over the following centuries, Syracuse was invaded, conquered, and occupied several times, leading to it being inhabited by several peoples including the Vandals and Byzantines (5th-6th centuries) as well as the Muslims (9th-10th centuries). It also came under Norman rule for thirty years from 1061.
From 1197 to 1250, Syracuse experienced resurgence under the rule of Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty.
Syracuse Archaeological Site today
Today, visitors to the Syracuse Archaeological Site can enjoy the spectacular remnants of its past, the most famous of which is its Ancient Greek theatre. There is also a Roman amphitheatre (pictured on the map), a sanctuary to Apollo, an altar to Sicilian King Hieron II (265-215BC), a set of ancient quarries, and a fort known as the Castle of Euryalus (although the latter is located around 8km north of the main site).
Together with the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Syracuse Archaeological Site is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Archaeological Museum is just round the corner from the archaeological park (in Via Teocrito) which contains a fascinating collection of exhibits from all over the Syracuse area.
Getting to Syracuse Archaeological Site
The Syracuse Archaeological Site is located very centrally in the city. From the centre, which is very close to the Basilica Santuario Madonna delle Lacrime, the site is a 4 minute drive or 10 minute walk via Viale Teocrito and Viale Augusto.
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