albania

The Microcosmos of Mediterranean - Butrint

The Microcosmos of Mediterranean - Butrint

Butrint, is the first albanian site to be included on UNESCO-s World Heritage in 1992. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times and was a part of the greek and roman colonies. Later on, Butrint experienced a period of prosperity under Byzantine occupation, followed by a short period under Venetian rule and eventually was abandoned in the latte Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area. Now, Butrint is a place in which traces and ruins represent all the changes and metamorphosis of the city's development through ages.

Butrint is located in the south of Albania, just 20 km from the city of Saranda. In its synthesis about this site, UNESCO mentions that " Butrint has a special atmosphere created by a combination of archaeology, monuments and nature in the Mediterranean. With its hinterland it constitutes an exceptional cultural landscape, which has developed organically over many centuries."

This archaeological site is a microcosmos of Mediterranean history, with occupation dating from 50 000 BC, at its earliest evidence, up to the 19th century AD. The most interesting ancient Greek monument is the theatre which is well preserved. The major ruin from the paleo-Christian era is the baptistery, an ancient Roman monument adapted to the cultural needs of Christianity. Its floor has a beautiful and unique mosaic decoration.

The most ancient objects found in Butrint consist in a stone hammer and a shaft that date back to the second half of the second millennium B.C. An italian archeologist led some expeditions in Butrint in the years 1926-1936 and by this time he discovered the baptistery, the theater, the basilica, the public baths, the gymnasium , the temple to Minerva , Skea gate and Lion gate of the ancient walls and castle , many houses, and a great number of objects and sand statues of inestimable value.

The most extraordinary objects discovered in the theater of Butrint are the statue of Apollo, the goddess of Butrint, the marble heads of Zeus, the portrait of Agrippina, the head of Livia and many Latin and Greek epigraphs. Parts of the city were rebuilt during the fifth century B.C.

Butrint should be on your To-do-list of this year. A place that makes sure to engage you in history, culture and nature of the Mediterranean.

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The author

Elda Ndoja

Elda Ndoja

I am Elda from Albania, moved by the desire to know more about the world. I share stories on my country and I hope you find them interesting as when I read about other countries.


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