What to see in Butrint, itinerary to discover this important archaeological site, including Greek Roman theater, baptistery, basilica, cyclopean walls, castle, local history museum and national park.
In the southern part of Albania, about 18 kilometers south of Saranda, near the border with Greece, there are the ruins of the ancient city of Butrint, whose Albanian name is Butrint, surrounded by the beautiful natural environment of the Park National of the same name, Unesco heritage together with the archaeological site.
On an hill between the lake of Butrint and the channel of Corfu, the ancient Hellenistic center originated, whose most distant evidence dates back to a period between the tenth and eighth centuries BC.
Famous for a sanctuary dedicated to Aesculapius, god of medicine, and which became a Roman colony in 44 BC, the city spread over the reclaimed marshes with the construction of an aqueduct, a forum, spas and a nymphaeum in the Augustan age.
In the fifth century AD, when Butrint became a bishopric, a baptistery and basilica were built, but already in the seventh century there was very little of the ancient city, which was rebuilt under Byzantine rule, in the ninth century.
In the thirteenth century, the governors of the Despotate of Epirus, which arose from the dismemberment of the Byzantine Empire, built a new castle on the acropolis, renovated the fortifications, the cathedral and other buildings.
Dominated by the Venetians and the Ottomans, from the end of the fourteenth century, a long period of decline began for the city, remaining in a state of neglect until 1928, when the first modern archaeological excavations conducted by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Maria Ugolini began.
Today the site is protected by the Butrint Foundation of Lord Rothschild, a foundation based in England.
On the slope of the acropolis are the remains of the Greek theater, enlarged in Roman times, and small public baths.
Continuing the visit you can see a wall with Greek inscriptions and the baptistery built on a thermal plant from the Roman era, towards the middle of the sixth century.
The remains of the baptistery are distinguished by a wonderful polychrome floor mosaic.Recommended readings
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Beyond the baptistery there are the majestic arches of the sixth century basilica, while further on there are the cyclopean walls dating back to the fourth century BC.
On the architrave of a gate of the walls, there is an archaic bas-relief, depicting a lion tearing a bull, a symbol of strength against the attackers.
At the top of the hill, where the ancient acropolis once stood, there is a castle of medieval origins, rebuilt in the 1930s.
The fortress offers a beautiful view of the Strait of Corfu and the Vivari Channel, which connects the strait to Lake Butrint, also from its position it is possible to have an overall view of the ancient city.
The structure houses an interesting archaeological museum dedicated to the history of Butrint.