The nuragic sanctuary of Santa Cristina di Paulilatino

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Nuragic sacred well of Santa CristinaOn the basaltic plateau of Abbasanta, among an oak and olive trees wood, rises the archaeological area of Santa Cristina, about one hectare of surface area, that includes one of the most beautiful sacred wells of Sardinia from the architectural point of view, the remains of ancient stone huts, a nuraghe, a Christian church and some "cumbessìas", dwellings for pilgrims.
The area is composed by two parts, north-eastern and south-western, divided by the church of Santa Cristina and the dwellings. In the north-eastern part there is the nuragic sacred well, or well-temple, very well preserved, built with basalt rocks during the Final Bronze Era, between the 12th and the 11th century BC, for the worship of water. It’s composed by a vestibule, a staircase and an hypogeum. Today only some rows of stones remain of the vestibule, drawing a keyhole shape, surrounded by another row, called thémenos, forming an ellipse.
The staircase room, with trapezoidal drawing, has 25 perfectly squared steps that gradually shorten (from 3,47 m for the first step to 1,40 of the last one). The staircase is covered by a ceiling reproducing a sort of overturned flight of steps. The room that is over there is 2,50 m of diameter and nearly 7 meters of height, and is built of squared stones that create protruding walls. On the floor there is the spring, that is still active, and on the ceiling there’s a round hole from which the light enters.
Outside the thémenos we have the rows of stones that formed a circular hut of about 10 meters of diameter, which has a seat along its walls, that’s why it has been called the "meetings hut": this building was probably where the assemblies of the nuragic community were made. Next to it, another smaller circular room, and around them several remains of huts with circular, rectangular and square shape, that could have been dwellings and shops.
Nuraghe of Santa CristinaThe south-western part, 200 meters from the north-eastern, includes a one-tower nuraghe and some remains of dwellings. The nuraghe is probably antecedent the well, as it’s built with not rough-hewn stones. The surrounding structures, circular and rectangular, belong to different periods, some of them belong to the roman age, as it was deduced thanks to the remians found inside them.
Between the two ancient areas there is the modern sacred area, composed by the small country church built by Camaldolese monks around the 13th century, and about thirty houses, called "cumbessìas" o "muristenes", used by the pilgrims that come during the nine days of prayers around the feast of Saint Cristina, on the second Sunday of May. The church has one nave and appears today in the aspect that was obtained after the several reshuffles made during the centuries.

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