Classic Tour of Albania
Possibly the largest ancient site in Albania, abandoned
by the end of the C6th
is possibly one of the largest archaeological sites in
Albania and is built on top of the ridge with views across
the surrounding countryside. Much of the site is unexcavated
with lumps and bumps in the ground and unidentified walls.
it is quite a confusing site with a few signs in both
Albanian and English explaining what the buildings were.
By the end of March, the ground was covered with wild flowers.
The site has been settled from the C4th BC and is surrounded by a massive C3rd BC wall of large slabs of stone. Inside was a planned city with a regular street pattern which was the capital of the area and able to mint its own coins. It was also a defensive stronghold for the area in times of trouble when the local population with their animals could find shelter here. It became a Roman colony but was sacked by the Visigoths in C4th and again later in the C6th, when it was refortified by enclosing a smaller area with new walls. The site was finally abandoned at the end of the C6th after further attacks.
By the restaurant and car park and surrounded by a wire fence, is the Cathedral or Basilica B which is one of the most impressive buildings on the site with the remains of columns. This was built between the C4th and C6th and had three naves and a baptistry.
Beyond it is a jumble of walls which was the Agora area with the Prytaneion building which was used by the Illyrians as a meeting place.
Near it is the remains of the arsenal, an underground structure built in the C3rd BC .
Roman remains in the area include a Roman villa.
There is also a Roman bath house and cistern
A bit further on are the remains of another smaller Basilica.
Perhaps the most impressive remains are the theatre, at the southern edge of the site. This was built in the C3rd BC against the slope of the hillside and would have held 7500 spectators.
A the base of the slope are the seats of the prominent citizens, still with carving on their backs. The seats for the rest of the population were far less comfortable.
Spectators entered through Gate 5 which is the best preserved of the gateways. Part of the C3rd BC wall can be seen here.
There are impressive views across the landscape, although unfortunately for pictures, this was looking into the sun.
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