The Microcosmos of Mediterranean
The first Albanian site to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage was Butrint, in the south of the country, in 1992. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times and was a part of the Greek and Roman colonies.
Later, it experienced a period of prosperity under Byzantine administration, which was followed by a short period of Venetian rule and the eventual abandonment of the city in late medieval times. The present state of the archaeological site shows traces of all the time periods the city has gone through.
The most ancient objects found at the archeological site in Butrint are a stone hammer and a shaft belonging to the second half of the second millennium B.C.
Hekateus made first mention of the city at the end of the sixth century B.C., affirming that the city was built according to Troy and that the origin of the name refers to the sacrifice of a bull, Buthrotos, provided by the Trojan prince Aeneas on his way to Dodona. During its early period, Butrint was the center of the Kaonic tribes, later to become part of the kingdom of Epirus.
In the years 1926-1936 the Italian archeologist Luigi Ugolini led excavations in southern Albania, focusing his work in Butrint and Finiq, where he discovered the baptistery, the theater, the basilica, the public baths, 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, and many Latin and Greek epigraphs. Parts of the city were rebuilt during the fifth century B.C.