"Phoenician-Carthaginian fortified town" Mozia by effeti
Mozia Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 23 photos
The ruins of the ancient town of Mozia are between Trapani and Marsala, on the far west end of Sicily
The ancient Phoenician colony was founded in the 8th century BC on one of the four islands of the Stagnone Lagoon now known as the Island of San Pantaleo (the name it assumed in the Middle Ages when a group of Basilian monks settled there). Motya, the Phoenician name by which it came to be known before, is alleged to translate loosely as “spinning centre” after wool carding and spinning cottage-industries were instituted on the island. Like most other Phoenician colonies, the island became a commercial trade-centre-cum-staging post for Phoenician ships
In the same century, from the other side of Sicily there was the beginning of the Greek colonisation of Sicily, too.
Sicily was not always big enough for this two different cltures and their trades, and they collided: In 397 BC, the tyrant of Syracuse Dionysius the Elder, laid siege to the town until at last it capitulated, snuffing out every last will to continue. Its surviving inhabitants sought refuge on the mainland, and soon integrated themselves among the people of Lilybaeum, modern-day Marsala.
The chartaginians, after all, did the same a few years before with the greek colony of Selinunte
(see my page on it clicking here )
This tragedy for the citizens of Mozia, was the luck of the modern archeologists... the ruins remained forgotten and untouched for millenniums..
The rediscovery of Motya is associated with the name of Joseph Whitaker, an English noblernan living in the 1880s related to the family that owned a well-established and flourishing business producing and exporting Marsala wines (yes, the famous brand). The house on the island built for Whitaker now accommodates a small - but very interesting - museum.
You have to pay to enter the island.
once in, you are free to stroll around and to see the museum.
The ancient town occupied the whole island . Many rests of the ancient walls sorrounding the island are still in place.
It's not a long walk, and easy done.
The picture shows the remains of the north gate (the one with the stone road still existing a few centimeters below the water surface) as seen from the lagoon side.
- In a nutshell:A rare case of ancient ruins in an untouched place
The only modern building of the island is the museum. Little but very interesting. The museum is free (or better... more travel advice
Cothon is the name of the small rectangular man-made harbour , linked to the sea by a narrow (now closed by mud)... more travel advice
effeti's Related Pages
Mozia Travel Guide
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