Wonder  }  Archaeology

The Sacred Well of St. Christina

One of the most mysterious and fascinating archaeological sites in Sardinia

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Where is


09070 San Cristina OR, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


What is St. Christina's Well and where is it located?

The well of Santa Cristina is named after a small church not far away, but it has nothing to do with the Christian saint. It is a much older well, related to the Nuragic civilization, which is located within the Santa Cristina archaeological park along with two other sites: a Christian village and a Nuragic village consisting of a nuraghe, a meeting hut and other buildings used as taverns or dwellings.

Not to be missed around the well: the Christian village...

The Christian village dates back to the Middle Ages and consists of the small church dedicated to Santa Cristina, and simple dwellings reserved for the monks. Even today the shrine is revived in May, during the novenary, and the little houses host pilgrims from all parts of Sardinia.

... and the nuragic village

TheNuragic village is distinguished by the Nuraghe made of basalt stones that is perfectly preserved inside. Surrounding it are several structures: a hut (more recent than the nuraghe) perhaps used for livestock; a circular structure with a seat running around the perimeter wall (only the base remains today) that must have been used for meetings; and next to it another circular structure that probably served as an enclosure for sacrificial animals. If the site, as it seems, was a shrine, the other buildings of which only the base remains would then be workshops for merchants during the festivals.

Why it is special: the well of St. Christina

But the most extraordinary thing about the archaeological site is surely the well of Santa Cristina: a long trapezoidal staircase of perfectly regular stones that penetrates into the heart of the earth until it reaches the water, a tholos, a perforated dome covering the well, around stones also arranged in a regular manner to isolate the sacred area from the rest, all around olive trees.

Curiosity: the mysterious shapes of the well.

A curious phenomenon has led many scholars to speculate that the well might have been an astronomical observatory. It happens that during the equinoxes, the sun penetrates down to the water of the well, and whoever looks from the tholos, can see its upside-down figure reflected there; every 18 1/2 years, then, it is the moon that is reflected in the water and visible from the tholos. Surely that was a place of worship of water, a female cult par excellence, and the "origin of the world" is alluded to by the arrangement of the stones of this extraordinary sacred place, whose shape is very reminiscent of the representations of the vulva so widespread in prehistoric times.

A bit of history

The nuragic village is dated between 1500 -1200 B.C., more recent is the well, dating back to the 11th century B.C., while the small church is from the 13th century.

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Recommended by
Patrizia Iome

If you want to breathe in the sacred, even as a perfect agnostic, go to Santa Cristina. The place is magical and is a hymn to femininity.


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