Among the wonders foreigners may visit while touring in Albania, is absolutely the archaeological site of Buthrotum. It is in fact an ancient archaeological Greek, and later on Roman, city situated southern-east, in the site of Vlora. Some 14 kilometers south of the city of Saranda. According to the Roman writer Virgil its legendary founder was the seer Helenus a son of the King Priam of Troy. Butrinti was linked to the Mediterranean by the Vivari Canal, which ran from the Butrinti Lake to the Ionian Sea. For almost 400 years Buthrotum was a property of Venedik. They build the current fortifications and a triangle castle.
The site was conquered many times, but the most known conquest was achieved by the Great Suleiman in 1537.
The National Park of Buthrotum was proclaimed for the first time in 1948 as a monument of culture. But due to its greatest importance and because it bears a rich historical culture in 1999 was included in the list of the World Heritage of UNESCO.
The Park of Buthrotum is well known for a rich flora and fauna. Its archaeological ruins are part of the echo-system and the combination of archeological monuments. The ruins along with the natural environment makes Buthrotum a unique site worth visiting. it is wet by the lake of Buthrotum, half sweet, half salty. It constitute one of the most important biodiversity area in Albania. A subtropical climate makes is visitable during many months. We must mention here the cultivation of mussels.
What’s the origin of the name?
Once the son of King Priam arrived, Helenus sacrificed a bull, which didn’t die immediately, because it managed to escape, but died on the shore. Helenus saw this as a good sign from the Gods and soon named the site “Buthrotum” which means “Dead bull”.
What to visit?
Seen from above the national park of Buthrotum is surrounded by water, it looks like a peninsula and in the middle lies the whole area of the ruins. A green dense forest that carries at its heart the archaeological discoveries.
Constructed in the IV-III century BC, with 13 stairs the scene, the orchestra and a capacity of 1500 seats, still functional to enact prominent masterpieces on the stage, and it is the perfect place where you can travel centuries back an relive the ancient times. Just close your eyes for a while and try to imagine yourself in the middle of a majestic and mystic atmosphere of more than 2000 years.
One of the wonders of Buthrotum is its Baptistery with its amazing mosaic on the floor, considered as undoubtedly on of the most famous monuments. The accuracy this mosaic is decorated with gives the impression it was not made by human hand, but rather a divine finger. Perfect shapes wreathed with each-other in a delicate motion, such impressive that you won’t stop staring at it.
The Sanctuary of God Asclepius
Buthrotum is an extraordinary treasure for Albania, a treasure of outstanding universal values. Another fantastic site to visit is the ruins of the Temple of Aesculapius (Faltorja e Askpelit), dedicated to Greek God Aesculapius, the God of health. The moment tourists get there you just notice two long sides of high arch made of bricks forming a sort of corridor and the sky above it. At the end of the corridor there is an altar with a low white pillar placed on it used for the married couples to coronate their eternal love.
The Venetian Castle
Build by the Venetian people at the top of the hill. It’s a two-floor an observance tower. Inside tourists will discover the Museum of Buthrotum that shows up the rich and complex history of this site. The Museum describes Buthrotum as being a microcosmic of the Mediterranean history.