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Water

Sardegna TurismoSardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean, the eighth in Europe and the forty-sixth in the world.

 
Thanks to its location, at the heart of the Mediterranean, since ancient time
s Sardinia has always attracted the interest of various colonial powers.

The particular shape of the island’s coastal outline (the form of a sandal, or foot), led to the Ancient Greeks calling it Sandalya or Hyknusa – Ichnussa.

Sardinia has an overall surface area of 24,090 km². More than 80% of the island is either hilly or mountainous, covering an area of 16,352 km², of which 67,9% is made up of hills and rocky highland plateaus.

Some upland areas are remarkable, and are called “giare”, or “gollei” if they are granite or basalt, “tacchi”, or “tonneri”, if composed of sandstone or limestone.

Mountains occupy almost 14% of this island, giving an area of 4,451 km², and they are formed of extremely old rocks. The highest point on the island, in the centre and located within the Gennargentu Massif, is Punta La Marmora, at a height of 1,834 m.
 
Fiume CoghinasThe rivers which flow through the island are for the most part torrential in character; the most important are the Tirso, the Flumendosa, the Coghinas, the Cedrino, the Temo and the Flumini Mannu.
The River Coghinas, in the Anglona region, is of considerable importance from an agricultural and tourist point of view, as w
ell as in terms of flora and fauna.
It is 116 kms long, and is fed by numerous tributaries, finishi
ng its journey via an estuary at the sea at Valledoria.
 

Diga Coghinas

Along its length, it is artificially blocked by a dam (at the Muzzone narrows), which forms a lake with a capacity of 254 million cubic metres, and which supplies drinking water to a large part of the province of Sassari.
 
Withi
n the dam, a hydro-electric installation was built in 1926 which is still active today, and starting in 1929, thanks to the construction of dykes, drainage channels and a capillary irrigation system, it has also been possible to maximise the use of the land for agricultural purposes.

The term Coghinas means “kitchen” in the Logudorese dialect, and it comes from the fact that near Castel Doria, there are springs of naturally occurring salsobromoiodic water, which have led to the creation of a thermal spa complex, already used in Roman times.

 The Casteldoria thermal springs, still referred to today as 'li caldani', are characterized by the emergence of bubbles of boiling water (around 70°) which rise up from under the the river bed, almost uncomfortably hot in some places. The main sources are channelled and used by the Thermal Spa and Baths which is open all year round. These thermal baths have excellent curative qualities, both for Terme di Casteldoriarheumatism sufferers as well as other more general problems and conditions, such as gynaecological and ear, nose and throat ailments. There is also a section dedicated to general wellbeing, as well as a  thermally heated swimming pool. This is a short distance from the main part of the Spa, and uses water that is heated directly underground; thus there is no need to artificially heat the water - in fact at certain times it is necessary to cool it down in order to obtain an optimum temperature.

Near the thermal baths, and reachable along a f
ootpath which winds around the flanks of Monte Ortigiu, located on the top there is a XIIth century building known as castello dei Doria (Castle of the Doria family), which can be seen from a great distance. It takes the form of a single tower, with an irregular pentagonal  layout, and is separate from the castle itself, with a cistern built into its base to collect rainwater.

In addition to the importance of the river Coghinas in terms of the thermal baths and Spa, it is also significant in terms of navigability.

 

Local studies maintain that the area around the mouth of the Coghinas is a genuine natural harbour, with moorings  but no breakwaters, and able to be navigated, as far as two separate forks along the banks, one leading to Viddalba and one to Cocina.

Today, the navigable section of the river is much used by sports enthusiasts, fishermen and tourists.
The last of these have the possibility to ascend the river by boat to enjoy  birdwatching or wildlife photography, paddle in a canoe, and admire the surrounding scenery which is rich in both fauna and flora. For sports enthusiasts, it is possible to enjoy a variety of watersports in complete safety all year round, such as kayaking, sailing,  windsurf and various others.

The mouth of the River Coghinas is known as a Natura 2000 protected Area, that is, a Site  of comm
unity interest.

Due to the particular characteristics of its natural habitat, it has been chosen as a breeding ground by a number of different species of bird.

So water in Sardinia has always been important.
First of all, and most obviously because the Region is an island, and surrounded by water, but also, as described above, because of a good number of rivers and water courses, along whose banks inhabited areas and commercial activities have sprung up with the passing of time.
 
The island enjoys a climate which is mild and temperate during the winter, and dry in the summer.
One can visit all year round, but from the naturalistic point of view Spring sees the island at its best. The  summer months are excellent for those who have an idea of the typical Sardinian seaside holiday.  For sports enthusiasts,  the island is accessible all year round, with mild temperatures, while  for cultural, historical or environmentally-minded visitors, the is
land is here for you 365 days a year.

The current water supply is mainly provided by surface water.

Sardegna turismo sostenibileThe sea in Sardinia is of enormous importance, from the tourism, cultural, social and environmental point of view.
With its tremendous variety of coastlines Sardinia can boast one of the most beautiful seas in the world.

 

Visiting all the different areas, it is possible to find beaches to suit every requirement, wide open spaces with sand dunes, or little bays set among rocky inlets, where you can spend unforgettable moments.

For better or worse, the sea around Sardinia has led to a level of cultural contamination through permitting the arrival of numerous invaders, as you can read in more detail on the island pages in the Island section of this site.

Proof of the importance of water in Sardinia
can be found even as far back as the Nuraghic period.
 Known as the water cult, and practised by this profoundly religious civilisation, there exist on the island a large number of  holy wells (temples).

Perfugas Pozzo Sacro - content by Wikipedia GNU Licence

According to historians and scholars of this subject, the holy wells were built following a particular astronomic positioning. The theory explains that when the moon is at its maximum declination (every 18 and a half years), it is perfectly reflected within the well through the hole in the “tholos” (the underground cupola making up the structure of the well).
 
According to the same theory, along the line of the stairs that provide access to the water source in certain wells,  the sun is also reflected in the water of the holy well during the spring and autumnal equinoxes, while in others this takes place during the summer and winter solstices. It is thought that the rites celebrated in the holy well temples were connected to the idea of the fertility of  Mother Earth goddess (terrestrial), while also invoking the intercession of the Mother Moon goddess (celestial).

 These temples were places for meetings where people came together at different times of the year for the religious practices associated with them, both in time of war and peace.
 Archeological excavations have indicated that there were houses near to these holy wells, demonstrating a constant presence nearby to where the wells were built. In addition rooms for meetings, shows, spaces for group dancing and sports competitions, areas dedicated to markets have also come to light. One presumes therefore that these were considered neutral territories, areas where a truce between the various Nuraghic peoples of the area was honoured.

So water had then, and still has now a fundamental role in the history of the island.

Today, having a holiday in Valledoria could well be an opportunity for you to revisit our journey through the history of water, visiting the places described in our brief story, or simply to understand if the presence of wat
er itself, either as sea or river might be for you a real point of interest, to find out more about this corner of Sardinia that is patiently waiting.

So come and find us, and think how you too can contribute to improving and caring for the local environment when here on holiday, respecting  both the place and the different species present within.

 


Ciao Valledoria
Sustainable tourism

Ciao Valledoria - Environment protection no profit association - Responsible tourism promotion - Valledoria (SS) - Italy