The ancient city of Adrianopolis in Gjirokaster, Albania, is one of the least visited but most impressive places in the country. A visit to the ruins should be included in the itinerary of any visitor visiting Albania for the first time. For most guests, the highlight of the tour is a visit to the ancient Roman theatre – guests can sit on the stands and walk across the stages of the ancient theatre.

. Adrian was here.

Between two stone walls in northern England, the Roman Emperor Hadrian was often seen enjoying the theatre on mild summer evenings. Hadrian went there in 125 AD. Chr. the area around Gyrocaster. It is even possible that Hadrian himself sat in this theatre in the Roman province of Illyricum and watched the play.

Epirus is a land of Roman ruins, picturesque bridges, flowing rivers, charismatic villages and massive mountains.

Hadrianopolis (Adrianopolis) was located in the ancient region of Epirus during the Hellenistic period (323-31 BC) and was originally inhabited by the Chaos tribe, hence it is now called Adrianopolis in Epirus. Three other cities in the vicinity of Choania: Phoenix (Phoenicia), Antigonia (Antigonia) and Butrint (Butrotos) – we invite you to visit all four!

Who was Adrian?

Adrianus Publius was born on the 24th. January 76 n. Chr. in Italica, Spain, in present-day Seville. Emperor Hadrian came to power in 117 AD and retained the title until 138 AD. In contrast to earlier Roman emperors, who sought to expand the empire further and further, Hadrian sought to protect the lands the Romans had already acquired.

To defend the territory, Hadrian built walls at the borders of the empire. Because of this persecution, the name was immortalized over time for the barrier built in northern Britain, now known as Hadrian’s Wall.

Ancient Roman cities in southern Albania

These four places, which were later transformed from Hellenistic villages into Roman cities, are now popular tourist attractions. However, Butrint is by far the most visited, as it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Adrianopolis seen from the air.

Of the four places, Finik and Adrianopolis are the least visited. Travelers staying at Gyrocaster often drive around Antigonia and skip Adrianopolis. Although Antigonea covers a much larger area and offers spectacular views, it does not have the wonder factor of Adrianopolis, at least as far as the ruins are concerned.

A brief history of Adrianopolis

Of two. Century v. The Chr. Antigonia was gradually abandoned and finally burned by the Romans. In short, Antigonia was founded by king Antigonos Gonatas of Macedonia or, more likely, by king Pyrrhus of Molossae around 300 BC. Chr. founded.

The tribe of the Molossians united with the Macedonians, and the Chaonians with the Romans. Therefore, when the Romans conquered the area, the Chaonians were spared and the Molossians destroyed.

The rest of the inhabitants gradually moved from Antigonia, which was at the top of the hill, to Adrianopolis, which was on the site of an ancient Hellenistic settlement in the agricultural valley below. As a result, Hadrianopolis became the new urban center of Roman administration.

An information board welcomes visitors to Adrianopolis.

Emperor Hadrian chose this site for Hadrianopolis because of its continuous growth over the centuries and because it is halfway between Apollonia and Nicopolis. Adrianopolis was up to the fifth. Century n. Chr. permanently inhabited. On the sixth floor. Century n. Chr. Adrianopolis was recently founded by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I.

Adrianopolis benefited at least until the end of the 5th century. Century n. Chr. Uninterrupted stay. On the sixth floor. Century n. Chr. the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I fortified several outposts in the region and is known to have rebuilt Adrianopolis under the name of Justinianopolis.

Adrianopolis covered an area of about 16 hectares and corresponded to a typical Roman grid pattern. In the 1970s, the ancient city was discovered by a landslide. It wasn’t until 1984 that local farmers discovered the top of the theater.

Visit to Adrianopolis today

The theater consists of an 85-foot stage (pulpit) with extensive scenery (stage hoops) behind it.

Excavations have only recently begun and are progressing slowly but steadily. The only archaeological remains excavated so far are the Roman theatre and the thermal baths.

In those days the theatre was a massive structure. With only about a dozen rows barely visible today, it’s hard to imagine how impressive this building must have been in the past. It is estimated that the theatre had 27 rows and a capacity of about 4,000 people!

The diameter of the theater cave is approximately 200 feet.

That is why we like to travel through the Balkans. You can visit the ancient Roman theatre, let your imagination run wild, enjoy everything and take a raucous tour (free!).

Planning a trip to Adrianopolis

Adrianopolis is located about 15 minutes or 8 miles south of Gyrocaster. The last kilometer on a bumpy gravel road. We drove a small compact car to the site. However, because of the rough terrain, drivers must drive slowly.

Atmospheric entrance to the theatre.

From the main road motorists will have to pass under the viaduct. Large vehicles, such as. B., are therefore unable to visit the site. There are numerous parking lots next to the viaduct, so visitors can walk half a mile to Adrianopolis.

The excavation area is quite small, so many people cannot spend more than 15 minutes visiting the site. In addition, the area is not fenced and there is no time limit for visiting it. We recommend that you enjoy this wonderful atmosphere and take your time.

Update: We came across this interesting photo of Adrianopolis after writing this post and thought it was interesting enough to include in the post.


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