To visit Pompeii is a chance to travel back in time. These are the best preserved Roman ruins on the planet and give us a glimpse of what life must have been like almost 2000 years ago.

Pompeii ruins Tales of ash in the Pompeii ruins.

I wander along the quiet streets, trying to imagine how the daily life in this city was before the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Estimates guess that 15 000 people were living in Pompeii around that time.

Mark Twain had similar thoughts on his visit way back in 1867:

“It was a quaint and curious pastime, wandering through this old silent city of the dead–lounging through utterly deserted streets where thousands and thousands of human beings once bought and sold, and walked and rode, and made the place resound with the noise and confusion of traffic and pleasure.”
— Mark Twain (1867)
Pompeii ruins In the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.

At most places in the ruins, Mount Vesuvius is clearly seen at the horizon, looming over the city as a real life version of Mount Doom in Mordor.

The eruption of the volcano almost 2000 years ago covered the city in 6 meters of ash and debris. Many of the victims were covered by calcified layers of ash, preserving the form of their bodies even after the biological material decomposed. Today plaster casts of the bodies can be seen in several places.

Pompeii ruins A room in the ruins.

Some of the old houses still have well-preserved paintings, such as Case del Principe di Napoli with its striking red walls.

Pompeii ruins Exploring the ruins.

There are a lot of Roman ruins in Europe, but it’s a very weird feeling to walk around in a city that was so suddenly destroyed.


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