Nuraghe: Mysterious Towers of Light

One of the biggest mysteries of the Bronze Age is the Nuragic civilization. Their towers of light called the nuraghe are the best window into their lives and cultures. The Nuragic people lived on the island of Sardinia, Italy, and flourished from 1900 BCE until Rome colonized them in 238. Despite being one of the most powerful civilizations in ancient Europe, there are no written records about the Nuragic. The only sources of information are the Greek and Roman writings but historians take these accounts with a grain of salt.

Nuraghe from above

The structure that is nuraghe is actually the reason we call these ancient islanders Nuragic. These structures are so abundant on the island that historians believe there were probably 30,000 of them. However, archeologists have managed to discover only 7000 so far.


Like the civilization itself, the nuraghe is a mystery as well. No one is fully certain about their function or why the Nuragic people built so many in numbers. Some believe that the name of the structure means “light” or “fire.” Hence, the name “tower of light.”

Nuraghe birds eye's view

While the nuraghe towers varied in size as some reached a height of 20, 25, or even 30 meters, their layout is pretty much similar. They consist of walls surrounding a tower-like dome, with stairs leading down to the interior. The walls of the nuraghe were made of rubble masonry, ashlar masonry, and smaller stones. Moreover, another set of stairs would lead to the balcony or terrace at the top of the tower, which is now of course not visible due to damage over the centuries.

Nuraghe ruins

People have speculated about the function of these towers of light since the time they were discovered. While some believe that they were the residents of the rulers, meeting halls, or temples some believe that they mostly served defensive purposes.

Nuraghe interior

Whatever their function, it is for sure that the Nuragic people deeply valued the nuraghe as they built thousands of them. While their true purpose may never be clear, they remain the biggest legacy of this ancient civilization.

Nuraghe light source
Nuraghe walls
ancient light tower
ancient light tower inside
ancient light tower walls close up
ancient light tower stairs
ancient light tower from above