The antique city of Butrint is situated on a peninsula of the lake of Butrint, in the south extremity of Albania. It was necessary to wait for the beginning of the XXth century so that Italian archaeologists begin systematic searchesthere. After the liberation of Albania, in 1944, Albanian archaeologists began more ambitious works. The mud and the vegetation which recovered Butrint had protected her from the ravages of time, which these are owed to human or natural causes, and all the city showed itself then, so to speak, intact. Important stage on the commercial roads, the site knew its peak in the IVth century BC, in the course of which it mattered among the main maritime and commercial centers of the antique world. The view of its surrounding wall, which is dated from the VIth century BC, is enough to evoke the economic and commercial power of the city during this period. The hill occupied by the Acropolis is surrounded by a wall built in enormous stony blocks. The amphitheater shows interests of the inhabitants of the city : stony seats, among which 23 rows are preserved, could welcome 1 500 spectators. The theater is at the foot of the Acropolis, about two temples; one of them is dedicated to Asclépios, the Greek god of the medicine, who was the object of a cult on behalf of the inhabitants of the city. Under the Roman domination, the city lost gradually of its importance. However, three monumental fountains, three public thermal baths, a gymnasium decorated with mosaics and, quite particularly, the aqueduct built in the course of Auguste’s reign prove that the site was then far from being abandoned. Two basilicas and a baptistry were built there during early Christian period. Later, the city knew a difficult history in the medieval time: it was taken in the power struggles between Byzantium and the successively Norman, from Anjou and Venetian States, then in the conflict between Venice and the Ottoman Turks. Infiltrations of groundwater forced its inhabitants to leave it, and the abandoned city became covered little by little with mud and with vegetation, allowing its preservation. Go, exploration!
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