Pompeii was an ancient town located near to the modern town of Naples. Pompeii was a Roman colony with an estimated population of around 11,000 people. It had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, a gymnasium, and a port. Pompeii was destroyed by a huge volcanic eruption in 79 AD from Mount Vesuvius which stood above the town. Most of the town of Pompeii along with Herculaneum and the townsfolk were buried under tons of volcanic ash which rained down on them as they tried to flee.
The eruption which destroyed the city of Pompeii was described in a letter by Pliny the Younger who witnessed the destruction from a distance knowing that his Uncle, Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman Fleet, was trying to rescue citizens of the town.
The town was left as it was until 1599 when it was first looked at but it took nearly another 150 years before the Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre began excavating the town in 1748 and when the well preserved remains of Pompeii were unearthed and a detailed insight into the lives of its citizens could be examined.
Pompeii has been a tourist destination for over 250 years. Today it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.
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