The sea has always been of great importance to the city of Syracuse. Greek colonialists first arrived here by boat and settled in Sicily and thus laid the foundations of the regionís future prosperity. The attractive historic centre of the old town is located on the island of Ortygia whose buildings contain almost 2,700 years of history.
When under the dictatorship of the tyrant Dionysius The First, the town had a population of half a million that even surpassed that of Athens. Following a two year siege in 212 BC, the Romans succeeded in conquering the metropolis.
The Teatro Greco is one of the most beautiful amphitheatres of Ancient Greece and at the beginning of the fifth century, dramas and comedies were frequently performed there. It once accommodated up to 50,000 spectators.
Numerous colorful legends abound of the nearby Ear of Dionysius. The grotto is a wonder of acoustics in which even the most gentle whisper can be heard. Legend has it that, the tyrant Dionysios used the phenomenon to eavesdrop on his prisoners.
Siracuse is a fascinating and atmospheric place, steeped in history, myth and legend.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments