Altamura’s natural curiosities

For me Altamura was a big surprise. I didn’t really expect anything of it and it turned out Altamura had a lot to offer.

The city itself is not really spectacular. It is another old city, of which Italy has loads. There is a sort of special Cathedral, only it was closed because they were renovating it when I was there. There are however some old remains of the walls Altamura used to have (Hence the name Altamura. Alta means high and mura means wall).

The most spectacular things however, are outside of the city. First, there is the Altamura Man. It is an entirely intact human skeleton, nearly 400,000 years old. It lies in a cave and the atmosphere of the cave left in completely intact. Even the thin membrane at the back of the eye sockets is intact. It was discovered some time ago, but they still haven’t taken it out of the cave yet. They are waiting for better excavating and conservation techniques. The skeleton is blocking the rest of the cave, so who knows what they will find behind it.

altamura-man

Altamura Man

Secondly, there are the dino prints! I had heard about this when I was still in school and I didn’t know Altamura is the place where they are. Some dinosaurs walked here, and their footprints remained. The site itself is closed for public, but there is a very good (free!) museum in Altamura where you can see and learn a lot about the prints and also about the Altamura Man.

And last there is a very big sinkhole near Altamura. They call it Il Pulo (the hole). And it really is. It is a big hole, several hundreds of meter in diameter and almost a hundred meters deep. It looks weird. It used to be a large cave that collapsed a long time ago. All I am hoping  now is that the ground under my feet won’t collapse.

dino-prints

Dino prints

il-pulo

Il pulo

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