History, culture and legends

Besides being a great landscape and geological monument, Gorropu represents, from another point of view, an important historical and cultural monument.

Looking at the orography, but even at the distribution of the several surrounding nuraghi, it can be deduced how in the past the canyon had a fundamental strategic and defensive function.

Gorropu was certainly a no passable way for the invading armies that, going through the narrow walls, became an easy prey to the Sardinians.

At the immediate downstream entrance there was the nuraghe Sa domo de s’Orcu; upstream guarded the nuraghe Presetu Tortu, which in turn was towered by the stately nuraghe Mereu.

The man has lived even in impervious and fringe areas like Gorropu and there are many legends and stories about it.

The old tell about “Sa mama de Gorropu” (the mother of Gorropu), a dreadful creature that lives in the canyon.

Sos drullios” (there is a strong assonance with the “trools” of the north-European mythology) are described as evil creatures that during the wild nights come out from the canyon and drag away men, animals and constructions of the Supramonte.

The story goes that in Gorropu lives also “sa Tentassione” (the devil) and that in the past many went there to sell their soul in exchange for “sas ricchesas mundanas” (the worldly riches), but everybody came to a sticky end. Overwhelmed by despair, they committed suicide.

It is supposed that these terrifying superstitions derive partly from the known superimposing phenomenon of the Christian worship on the pagan one, and so from the consequently showing in a bad light all worships and myths of the subject culture.

But the most singular aspect, supported with firm belief by many elderly people, is that  inside Gorropu it is possible to see the stars during the day. This datum doesn’t have a scientific basis, but there are those who claims that at a certain time and from a specific point of the canyon is really possible to see the stars during the day.

It is a certain fact, instead, that sometimes the wind reaches such stunning velocities inside the canyon, that hurls the flights against the steep walls.

Until the ‘80s of the past century, when the wood pigeons were numerous, it often happened that the shepherds often stuffed their “tascas” (leather knapsacks) with these powerful birds, that they found piled inside the canyon.