They say that Sardinia is an open air museum. It is truly hard to find a place where traces, especially when prehistoric, are so present and alive. It is hard to say when human beings set foot in Sardinia and how he arrived in these marvellous places. On the basis of some fragments of pottery found on the bed of the river near Perfugas (the objects are shown in the local museum) paleontologists have arrived to the conclusion that during the Palaeolithic, which means 150-450 thousand years ago, man was already populating Sardinia. Starting from the first Neolithic, about 6000 BC. there are clear and frequent testimonies of the lifestyle and work habits of this culture.
The "Dolmen" (near Luras) - Large Megalithic tombs, built with an only perpendicular stone slab, covered by a sort of slab that acts as a roof, the "Elephant Boulder" (near Castlesardo) and the "Domus de Janas" (near Sedini and Aggius), small caves dug inside the boulder - are three of the examples of the most famous historical monuments (sepulchral monuments).
In Sardinia there are aobut 1000 funerary monuments known, of which 500 are in the province of Sassari, divided in small groups in the various resorts of the area. The peculiar characteristic of the Dolmen is that, even if on a small scale, the reproduced the places inhabited by the living. More than one hundred of these present inscriptions on the walls and other walls painted like jewels.
The Nuragic culture has also left us other extraordinary monuments. Near the small temples and sacred wells there are also the Giants' Tombs. Now you shouldn't think falsely that the Sardinians have shrunk in the last millenniums. The name was given by the local tradition because of the large size of the sepulchre. In this case we are speaking of collective tombs made up of a long sepulchral corridor, which used to be covered by large stone slabs. The semicircular entrance (Esedra), closed by stone slabs positioned vertically compared to the pavement, was to be used for cult and sacrificial rituals. In the province of Sassari there are more than 75 Giants' Tombs. One of the tombs which deserves more to be visited is the Giants' Tomb of Li Loghi (1800-1200 BC.), located near Arzachena.
Probably the monument of the Prehistoric era which most of all deserves to be mentioned is the Sun Altar of Mount Accoddi, situated on the road which brings from Porto Torres to Sassari. This resembles some monuments of the Middle East(Babilonia). A "Hill of the Sky", which is over 5000 years old. The peak of Sardinian archaeology believes that the Nuragic culture existed for about 1000 years which means between 1.500 and 500 BC. It derives its name from the important constructions which characterize that period, the Nuraghi (for example Palmavera and the Nuraghe of Santu Antine). They are cave stone constructions (towers) which have a cone shaped trunk, made up of concentric circles of large stones, which are held one with the other just by the pressure of their own weight. These works of architecture, which reach in some cases 20m. in height, were mostly built as strategic points, therefore there was a point of eye contact at least with another nuraghe.
The "more recent" history has left its traces as well. Memories of Rome can be found in Porto Torres, Alghero, Ozieri and also Olbia (Bridges, remains of aqueducts .). There are very clear traces of the Middle Ages, when the island was under the domination of the powerful marine republics of Pisa and Genova (Castelsardo and Casteldoria) and by the influx of the Church. In the province of Sassari the memory of Pisa is the most recent and this explains why the architectural style of some of the most beautiful Basilicas of the island, is named Roman-Pisan. Their appeal is highlighted by a surrounding scenery which is often isolated and now uninhabited, from which they emerge as marvels of architecture.
This strange mixture between sublime scenery and gorgeous architecture can be found, for example, in the Basilica of the Trinity of Saccargia (15km away from Sassari). The monuments left during the period of the Iberians (from 1324 to 1720) are more rare - first the Catalan -Aragon and then the Spanish. Only the imposing towers are left, located along the coasts, used as defences against the attacks by the Barbarics, which are fortifications situated in the direction of the sea, by which Alghero is surrounded. The architecture of this city and the Dome of Sassari remind of the period of that domination which lasted four centuries.
Should you find yourselves near Alghero, you could consider the idea of making a small trip to the Argentiera. This place doesn't have a true historical value, still the English, who at the beginning of the 21st century extracted silver right from this point, left us the disturbing image of a phantom city, which you usually see only in western films.