CASTELLO DI LIPARI

 
Castello di Lipari

Lipari Castle, actually a fortified citadel, whose current appearance derives from the mighty Spanish fortifications built around the fortress by Charles V, after the attack on the island by the Tunisian Kaireddin Barbarossa, who had conquered and destroyed the city in 1544. The natural lava dome on which the ancient city of Lipari was founded is itself inaccessible due to its geological conformation, which places it 40 metres above sea level.

 

Lipari Castle, actually a fortified citadel, whose current appearance derives from powerful Spanish fortifications, built around the fortress by Charles V, after the attack on the island by the Tunisian Kaireddin Barbarossa, who in 1544 had conquered and destroyed the city. The natural lava dome on which the ancient city of Lipari was founded is in itself inaccessible due to its geological conformation which places it at 40 meters above sea level. Such a strategic position represented a safety for indigenous peoples precisely because of the lava cliffs that rise almost all overhanging. The fortress of Lipari has been inhabited since prehistoric times with settlements dating back to the Neolithic, the Copper Age and the Bronze Age. The most exceptional discovery in the prehistory of the Mediterranean were the overlapping and intersected remains of the huts of four important villages that followed one another during the Bronze Age (1700-900 BC), that is, through a millennium of history. Lipàra (i.e. fatty, fertile) or Meligunìs (name that seems to refer to honey, in ancient Greek méli) was founded during the fiftieth Olympiad (580-576 BC) by inhabitants of Knidos together with a group of the island of Rhodes, as reports the Greek historian Diodoro Siculo. The first cnidium allocation was certainly on the Rocca. Soon the city extended towards the plain and the Rocca, it became the Acropolis of the city, or its highest part surrounded by walls, inside which were houses, temples and the agora (the main square). The existence of a regular urban structure that also affected the Acropolis, is ascertained for the Roman-Imperial age (II-I century BC) but probably already existed in the Greek age. There was a subdivision in blocks delimited by streets that cross at right angles (thistles and decumani). A main road (decuman) is in perfect correspondence with the door-tower of access to the Acropolis. In more recent times there were radical alterations of the Acropolis-Castle which led to the almost total cancellation of the buildings of the Greek and Roman age. The castle was transformed starting from 1792, into a place of detention and confinement which lasted until the fascist period.

 

After the Second World War with the abandonment of the confinement field, in this evocative scenario full of suggestions and painful memories, the archaeological excavations conducted by Luigi Bernabò Brea and Madeleine Cavalier began in 1950. Following in 1954, these two internationally renowned archaeologists created the first nucleus of the Museum by making the castle "reborn", reassigning it the role of crossroads of cultures.

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