Nora is an ancient Roman and pre-Roman town placed on a peninsula near Pula, near to Cagliari in Sardinia. According to legend, Nora was founded by a group of Iberians from Tartessus led by Norax, a mythological hero son of Eriteide and the god Hermes. It is believed to be the first town founded in Sardinia and to have been settled by the ancient Sherden or the Nuraghi people, and later colonized by Phoenicians.
The Nora Stone, a Phoenician inscription found at Nora in 1773, has been dated by palaeographic methods to the late 9th century to early 8th century BCE, and has been interpreted as referring to a Phoenician military victory and conquest of the area.
After a period of domination by Carthage the town came under Roman control after the conquest of Sardinia in 238 BC. It went into decline from the 4th century AD and appears to have been abandoned during the 8th century.
Nora was an important trading town in its time with two protected harbours, one on each side of the peninsula. Several different building styles can be seen in the excavated buildings.
Because the southern part of Sardinia is sinking into the Mediterranean Sea, a substantial part of the former town is now under the sea. A similar fate has befallen the ancient Phoenician and later Roman city of Bithia near Chia, situated not far from Nora. Bithia is now completely submerged.
A significant part of the town of Nora has not been excavated and is situated on land belonging to the Italian Army.
The ruins of Nora function as an open-air museum, and the remains of the theatre is occasionally used for concerts in the summer.
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