Lake Avernus

The lake Avernus is a volcanic lake situated in the homonymous crater in the Italian Campania region about 4 km Northwest of Pozzuoli. The nearby volcanic fields, known as the Phlegraean and the lake itself is part of an extensive volcanic belt Up. Aviernoz is circular with a circumference of 2 km, and its depth reaches 60 meters.

The lake Avernus played a big role in the life of the ancient Romans, who considered him as the entrance to the underground Kingdom of Hades. Its name comes from the Greek word meaning “without birds”, because, according to legend, any bird flying over the lake, dropped dead from toxic fumes. Roman poets often used the word “Avernus” as a synonym for the underworld: for example, Virgil placed the entrance to hell in the cave near the lake, and from thence into the Kingdom of Hades and Odysseus.

It is not known whether the lake Avernus so deadly, how it felt today, for example, it does not pose any danger to birds. One can only assume that the last volcanic activity was more intense, because of what formed a poisonous fume. But despite all the fears and threats, the Romans willingly settled on the banks of Avernus, where they built a Villa and planted his vineyards. In the coastal temples worshipped God Aviernoz, on the Eastern shore of the lake was built a huge bathing house.

In 37 BC the RomanGeneral Marcus Agrippa converted the lake into a naval base named the Portus Julius in honour of Julius Caesar. Using the channel she was connected with neighboring lake Lucrino and next to the sea. Also Avernus had a communication with the ancient Greek colony of Cuma – using the underground walkway, known as the Grotta di COCCIO, which had a length of about 1 km and was wide enough for him to drive the chariot. This, incidentally, was the world’s first road tunnel, which was used until the mid-20th century. Unfortunately, during the Second World war, the grotto was seriously damaged and now closed to the public.

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