Classic Tour of Albania

Day 5 - Byllis


Possibly the largest ancient site in Albania, abandoned by the end of the C6th


Byllis 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.

 Byllis, Albania

Byllis, Albania

By the end of March, the ground was covered with wild flowers.

Byllis, Albania

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.
 
Byllis, Albania

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.

Byllis, Albania

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.

Byllis, Albania

Near it is the remains of the arsenal, an underground structure built in the C3rd BC .

Byllis, Albania

Roman remains in the area include a Roman villa.
 
Byllis, Albania

There is also a Roman bath house and cistern

Byllis, Albania

Byllis, Albania

Byllis, Albania

A bit further on are the remains of another smaller Basilica.

Byllis, Albania

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.

Byllis, Albania

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.

Byllis, Albania

Byllis, Albania

Spectators entered through Gate 5 which is the best preserved of the gateways. Part of the C3rd BC wall can be seen here.
 
Byllis, Albania

There are impressive views across the landscape, although unfortunately for pictures, this was looking into the sun.

Byllis, Albania

<<Previous page
Back to top
Next page>>


Eleanor's Pages Index


MAIN SITE MAP