The Ancient City of Apollonia
The Ancient City of Apollonia is part of the Tentative list in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Click here for a short description of the site, as delivered by the State Party
Stanislaw Warwas Poland - August 2016
Visited August 2016.
If you ask Albanians what is the most important historical site in their country that every tourist should see, most of them will answer: Apollonia. It can be a bit surprising because Butrinti and even the theatre in Durres are better known for foreign people. In my opinion the reason is that during the communist time Butrinti was totally out of reach but for some scientists – due to its location very close to the border with Greece. It means that people have heard about Butrinti but had no chance to see it. Apollonia was always “open” and in the ’90 even the school groups started visiting Apollonia. Also in school Albanian children learnt more about Apollonia than about Butrint.
Now the site of Apollonia is still being excavated, but only 30% of it was uncovered. You can see the Greek odeon, roman theatre, some baths, porticoes stoas, and a layer of ruins on the site of acropolis. The most impressive is partly reconstructed house of Agonothetes where almost every day just married couples come for a photo session.
Apollonia flourished for 8 centuries and benefited from its location close to the sea, but after the earthquake in 4th century everything ended. The Christian community built a monastery on the foundations of the old temple and now this monastery is a small museum in which you can see artefacts excavated in Apollonia and around.
If you follow the path that leads to the small hill opposite the acropolis you’ll reach some demolished bunkers built here during Enver Hoxha’s regime (It is hard to believe but they did it on an archaeological site!) and lots of Hermann’s tortoise – species in danger.
Illyrian city of Apollonia can be reached from Fier by taxi or minibus (I was not able to localise the bus stand as there’s no bus station in Fier, so I took a taxi). I spent there 2 hours.