How Did The City Of Pompeii Get Destroyed

Volcanic Eruption

The city of Pompeii was part of the Roman Empire that was destroyed in 79AD. It was a thriving city with a population of around 15,000 to 20,000 people. The main cause of the destruction was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano located near the city. The damage to the city was severe and it was buried in hot ash, rocks and other debris that were ejected by the eruption. The population was either killed or evacuated, with no one surviving.
The eruption started on the afternoon of August 24th and lasted for two days. According to geological studies, the first phase of the eruption was an explosive one with mountains of clouds of pulverized material from the magma called an eruption column, which could have reached up to 30 kilometers high. The column was ejected along with pyroclastic surges (high-speed clouds of hot ash and gas) that swept across the land destroying everything in their path.
The ash, pumice, and other volcanic material from the eruption covered much of the city, burying it in a thick layer of ash and rock. In some cases, the ash and pumice was almost 5 meters deep. This caused the roofs of some homes to collapse and left people buried in the thick ash. With these events, the city of Pompeii was effectively destroyed.


It is believed that the majority of the population managed to evacuate the city in the days leading up to the eruption. This was likely due to the inhabitants noticing an increasing amount of seismic activity in the days prior, along with the sky turning dark. The evacuation was aided by the Roman navy which helped to transport thousands of people to safety.
However, some people were not so lucky, as the pyroclastic surge that occurred during the eruption caught some of them by surprise. This included those who had been unable to escape the city, such as the elderly and the sick, as well as some who had stayed for uncertain reasons. They remain buried under the ash and rubble, with no chance of escape.

Preservation of the City

Due to the volcanic eruption, the city was buried and left untouched for centuries, which allowed for the preservation of many of its buildings and artifacts. This is important as it allowed for archaeologists to study and learn more about the city and how its inhabitants lived. Some of the artifacts that were found include coins, tools, artworks, and even casts of the dead that were made by pouring a material into the spaces they had occupied.
The process of archeological excavation of the city began in the 18th century and is still ongoing. This gave experts and researchers evidence of the destruction and information about the day of the eruption. With the preserved structures and artifacts, experts were able to gain an insight into the lives of the people who lived and died in the city.

Rescue and Recovery

In the days following the eruption, the city was left abandoned and forgotten, with no one able to rescue or retrieve any of the dead. However, a few brave souls attempted to do so in the months that followed. In October of 79 AD, a group of people from neighboring towns entered the city to search and rescue any survivors, but they discovered that everyone had already perished. This group was unable to complete their mission as they were overcome by toxic gases that were produced by the eruption.

Current State of the City

Today, the city of Pompeii has been almost completely excavated and much progress has been made in uncovering the city’s remains. Some parts are open for visitors, and experts are still working to understand the city’s story. The eruption and its aftermath have been captured in films, books and other media, providing insight into what happened and giving respect to those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

Architecture of the City

The city of Pompeii was an advanced, wealthy Roman city and many of its buildings have been preserved for centuries due to the eruption. As an example, the forum complex of Pompeii is the most prominent and well-known structure, consisting of the Forum and the Temple of Jupiter. This complex had many other buildings, such as the basilica, which was a law court, and the temple of Vespasian and the temple of Apollo, which was a significant religious site.
The city featured a variety of buildings with Roman designs such as the amphitheater, the circus, and the Forum Baths, which served as an important center of socialization. The city was also equipped with an extensive aqueduct system, which allowed for the city to get water from nearby mountains.

Impact on History

The city of Pompeii was important to the Roman Empire and its destruction had a large impact on the course of history. Although many of the inhabitants managed to evacuate the city, this was the first large-scale disaster to befall the Roman Empire and it caused a major shock throughout the region.
The city was abandoned for centuries and only returned to the public record when it was accidentally rediscovered by a tradesman in the 18th century. Its discovery and the subsequent excavations have provided a valuable resource for historians and archaeologists to better understand the Roman Empire and its people.


The story of the city of Pompeii provides an important lesson on the power of nature and its potential to cause destruction on a large scale. This can be seen in the devastation caused by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the subsequent lasting effects it had on the city’s history and people.
The remains of the city and its artifacts help to educate the world on the power of volcanic eruptions and their impact on cities and its inhabitants. Some experts believe that this understanding of the city and its destruction serves as a reminder to modern-day cities of their vulnerability to natural disasters and should be taken into account when analyzing building and construction plans.

Modern Pompeii

Today, over two million tourists visit the city of Pompeii every year, making it one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world. Walking through the city allows for people to witness the destruction caused by the eruption and provides insight into what it may have been like for its citizens.
The remains of the city serve as a reminder of the power of nature and of the people who risked their lives to save their fellow citizens from the eruption. Overall, the tragedy of the city of Pompeii serves as a reminder to never underestimate the power of nature.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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