By Arlene Solis Chua
OSM! International Photojournalist
The ancient city of Pompeii in Italy was destroyed by volcanic eruption in 79 AD, after its inhabitants went through an unsuccessful rebellion against the Roman empire. The eruption of Mt. Vesivius reminded me of our very own Mt. Pinatubo in Central Philippines which spewed lahar and covered hundreds of villages in 1991.
Pompeii was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 meters (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice. By the time of its destruction, its 11,000 people were totally buried to the ground, and the city lost its complex water system, amphitheater, gymnasium and port. Along with it that perished was the ancient Herculaneum, a much smaller city.
According to researches, the site was lost for about 1,500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599. Spanish engineer Roque Joaquin de Alcubierre rediscovered it in 1748, or 150 years later. The objects that were buried under the city have been well-preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture. They give a stunningly detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana.
To fill in the voids in the ash layers that once held human bodies, plaster was used. This allowed us to see the exact position of the person upon his or her death during the volcanic eruption.
Pompeii is a major tourist destination in Italy for over 250 years. It holds a UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is visited by approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.
I will remember the Temple of Jupiter in Pompeii, and its mouth-watering pizza, generously tapped with ham, mozarella cheese and olives. Yummmm.