The Neapolis

Neapolis and fire. The Altar of Hieron and the sacrificial fire

The fire element in Neàpolis had a close link to the religious rites of the Greeks, i.e. sacrifices to the gods. The Altar of Hieron was the most famous altar in the ancient world. It was named after Hiero II, the sovereign who had it built near the Greek theatre.
Ara di IeroneThe altar was 198 metres long, like a modern football stadium, and was dedicated to Zeus, the god of power and order. Two flights of stairs were used to reach a mezzanine floor. During ceremonies, citizens would climb up one flight and descend using the opposite one, but only after leaving an offering to the gods. On either side of the two entrances to the stairs, there were two male statues that supported and embellished the entrances. These sculptures are called telamons .
All that’s left today are the feet of one telamon.
In Greek religion, sacrifices to the gods played a very important role. In fact, to gain the favour of the gods, the Greeks offered up animals as sacrifices: goats, sheep or oxen. Before any undertaking they consulted an oracle , i.e. a priest or priestess who spoke on behalf of the god.


The naumachiae: naval battles at the theatre

Ortygia and water. The Fountain of Arethusa

The fountain of Diana in Piazza Archimede


Giudecca and fire. Cooking and the Jewish religion

A journey to Pantalica

Ortygia and the earth element. Piazza del Duomo: discovering the origins.

Nature in Neapolis

Neapolis and the earth element. Places of performance: the Greek theatre and the Roman amphitheatre

The Cathedral of Syracuse

The Neapolis

Pantalica and water: the Myth of the Anapo River

Pantalica and fire. The Metal Age: objects from the culture of Pantalica

Giudecca and the earth element. Between gardens and artisan workshops

Ortygia and fire. Archimedes and the invention of the burning mirrors

Neapolis and fire. The Altar of Hieron and the sacrificial fire

Giudecca and air. The Basilica of San Giovannello

The interior of the Cathedral of Syracuse

Pantalica and air. The skies of Pantalica: from hawks to bats

Pantalica and the earth element

Neapolis and the water element. The Nymphaeum

Ortygia and the air element. The Gods of Olympus and the Temple of Apollo.

Neapolis and the air element. The Ear of Dionysius

Giudecca and water. The ritual baths: the Casa Bianca mikveh