Butrint is an ancient archaeological site in Albania. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The significance of Butrint is that it has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Throughout its long history, it was also a Greek colony, a Roman city and an early Christian bishopric. It was also ruled by the Byzantine empire, followed by the Venetians, but was deserted by the late Middle Ages, when the area became a marshland.
The heritage site of Butrint covers an area of 3980 hectares, with a buffer zone of 4611.2 hectares. Archaeological excavations began in 1928 with an Italian expedition by the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini. Since then, excavations have been going on and off under various change of governments. It was only after the collapse of the communist regime in 1992 that effort was taken to list Butrint as a World Heritage Site. However subsequent looting and plunder of the artefacts from the site caused the World Monuments Fund to place it on the list of endangered list between 1997 and 2005.
What to See in Butrint
Various ruins are still standing in Butrint, including its fortifications, which dates from the 6th century BC, its amphitheatre from the 3rd century BC, two ancient temples, one of which was to Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine. The Byzantine basilica of Butrint, now in ruins, is said to be the second largest in the Byzantine empire after Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
Ruins of the Roman amphitheatre at Butrint, Albania
Author: Marc Morell (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)
Butrint is located at the southern tip of Albania, close to the border with Greece. The nearest major city is Sarandë.
World Heritage Site Inscription Details
Location: N39 45 4 E20 1 34
Inscription Year: 1992
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: III
Threats & Issues
Butrint was added to the list of heritage sites in danger from 1997 to 2005 due to looting, lack of protection, management and conservation of the site. In response, the government of Albania established the Butrint National Park, and the protection of the site improved until it was taken off the endangered list in 2005.
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Visiting this Site
Your base for visiting this World Heritage Site is Tirana, the capital of Albania. From there, you can make your travel arrangements. The following is a list of the hotels available in Tirana.
You can also view a full list of hotels in Tirana here.
Approach Butrint by way of Sarandë, the main city in southern Albania. From Sarandë, head south to the beach town of Ksamil. Butrint is just to the south of Ksamil.
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Click here also for a full list of hotels in Albania or hotels worldwide. If you prefer budget accommodation in hostels, guesthouses or inns, check out hostels worldwide for budget accommodation providers with online booking.
Ruins of the Byzantine basilica, Butrint
Author: Roquai (public domain)
Baptistry of the basilica
Author: Joonas Lytinen (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)