Tharros was founded in the VIII Century by the Phoenicians, but the territory was previously populated by the Proto-Sardinians. After the Phoenician domination, the town became a Roman settlement.
The Phoenicians probably originally settled down near the San Marco cape as evidenced by two Necropolises. However, Tharros became an organised town in the VI Century, thanks to the Carthaginians. The tophet's two altars, the open sanctuary typical of Phoenician culture and the monumental temple all date back to this period.
The Romans settled the area around the 238 B.C. leaving the previous urban organisation untouched and integrating their buildings with the pre-existing ones.
Under the Roman Empire, the territory became a colony but, starting from the V Century, it underwent the Vandalic raids. During the Byzantine domination, it was the Bishop's see. Between the VIII and the IX Centuries, it also underwent the Saracen raids. The inhabitants were forced to leave the town in 1070, after a short return in 1052.
The town was brought to light by Italian excavations during the last century, followed by French and English ones. In fact, part of the materials found is currently kept in the British Museum of London and in the Borely Museum in Marseille.
Visiting Tharros means going back to the past, when people used to walk down the typical, stony alleys called cardo maximus, with numerous little shops where craftsmen used to work coral.
Between the V and the III Centuries, they also worked iron; in fact you'll find numerous furnaces where the metal was melted at very high temperatures.
The town had also an aqueduct and under the cardo maximus were pipes carrying the water to the buildings.
The thermal baths are very interesting and well kept. There are also the remains of three areas equipped with dressing-rooms, saunas and hot and cold water pools.
The town also has numerous buildings for worship and veneration. The temple in Capo San Marco, the Demetra and Core temple are just a few examples. Amongst them, the most important is the Monumental Temple, characterised by Doric semi-columns.