The Oxford of ancient times: Apollania

One of Albania's touristic hot spots, Apollonia ancient town demonstrates the country's deep-rooted historical richness. It was an ancient Greek city in Illyria where elites of Roman elites were educated and remained an educational center of the region until the medieval.

The Oxford of ancient times: Apollania

Although Ottoman contribution to Balkan civilizations is undeniable, it was surely not the only one. Home to a renowned school of philosophy Apollonia in today's Albania flourished in the Roman period.

Although the city lost its prominent place in education after an earthquake destroyed most of its harbor, it is a frequently visited touristic place that represents the region's rich historical and cultural heritage.

Another thing about Apollinia is that it is not alone. There have been 24 ancient Greek cities having named as Apollinia but the oldest one is Apollonia in Albania that was founded in 7th century BC. Named after Greek myth Apollonia, the city means the land of Apollonia in Helen language. Located near to another historical city Fier, Apollonia was rediscovered by European classicists in the 18th century.

However, it was not until the Austrian occupation of 1916–1918 that the site was investigated by archaeologists. Their work was continued by a French team between 1924–1938. Parts of the site were damaged during the Second World War. After the war, an Albanian team undertook further work from 1948 onwards, although much of the site remains unexcavated to this day.

Only a few unleashed

Archeologist Arjen Dimo, member of the team conducting research in ancient city said "The works here began after the First World War. French archeologist Leon Grey continued excavations till 1920's. We are still working. Today only 7 per cent of the city has been unveiled. There are many to do. To this day, the library, theater, administrative building and a sanctuary have been found."

The population was documented to reach 60 thousand at its highest level. As some resources suggest Roman Emperor Oktavian Augustus and Cicero were educated in Apollonia. When Augustus became Emperor, he immunized the city residents from paying taxes. The population significantly decreased after the earthquake in 3rd century BC.

Built in 12th century the monastery in Apollonia is used today as a museum. The building reflected all architectural characteristics of its period of construction. Although just a limited part of it was dig out, Apollonia seems to be a frequent visiting point for archeology lovers.

Kuzey News Agency

Last Mod: 26 Ocak 2014, 09:22
Add Comment
Paluca - 5 yıl Before

History recognizes as geographical space throughout the Balkans as Illyria, why it should be called Albanian Illyrian city, Greek city ..! is incomprehensible..!

Elton - 5 yıl Before

Thanks a lot for the article. It's beautiful. Please note there is a little lapsus in the title: the ancient town is known as Apollonia instead of ApollaniaCongratulations anyway

Elton - 5 yıl Before

The french archeologist is known as Leon Rey not Leon Grey

Elton - 5 yıl Before

Albanian Archeologist Arian Demo not Arjen Demo