"Butrint, ancient Buthrotum" Top 5 Page for this destination Butrint by JLBG

Butrint Travel Guide: 106 reviews and 219 photos

I have visited Butrint twice, in 1988 and in 2007. I had built a page with my 1988 photos. After my second visit, I have erased the previous page and entirely rebuilt it. In this new page I have used mostly the new photos and only a few of the older ones, only when they were significant.

Butrint, ancient Buthrotum, lies in south-west Albania, 20 km south of the modern port of Saranda. It is on a narrow peninsula lying between the strait of Corfu and the inland salt-water Lake Butrint. The Vivari channel connects Lake Butrint to the Straits of Corfu. The north part of Corfu is (Kassiopi and Nissaki) 5 km away from Butrint. South of the channel lies a flat reclaimed plain, drained by dykes, which effectively separates Butrint from the range of mountains that run along Albania's southern frontier with Greece.

In classical mythology, what was known as Buthrotum was supposed to have been founded by survivors from Troy led by Aeneas, one of the sons of the Troy rulers who fled their country after it was burned by the Greeks.

It was referred to by Virgil (Aeneid.Book 3 page 292-293):
"Soon were the lofty peaks of Corcyra lost to view. We (e.g. Aeneas and his companions) coasted along Epirus, and coming to the Chaonian Harbour, we drew near Buthrothum, that hill city".

The ancient legend claims that upon arrival, Priam's son Helenus sacrificed an ox to ensure his safe entry to Epirus. The wounded ox plunged into the sea, swam into a bay and then walked onto a beach where it fell and died. Helenus took this as an omen and he called the place Buthrotos, meaning "the wounded ox". However, according to Virgil, Helenus was already established there, married to Andromache before Aeneas arrived. The events in the French classical tragedy Andromache, by Racine take place at Butrint.

Butrint, a World Heritage site.

Butrint was inscribed in 1992 on the List of World Heritage with the following description :
Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint has been the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city and a bishopric. Following a period of prosperity under Byzantine administration, then a brief occupation by the Venetians, the city was abandoned in the late Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area. The present archaeological site is a repository of ruins representing each period in the city's development.

In 1997, "The Committee's concern over the continued lack of adequate protection, management, and conservation of the site led to its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1997 with the full support of the Minister of Culture of Albania who voiced his government's concern and commitment to the preservation of the site… A joint mission to Butrint in October 1997 had noted that the site remains vulnerable for a number of reasons, including the lack of proper fencing."

The limits of the World Heritage site were expanded in 1999 to include not only the walled city from the Greek and Roman period (approximately 16 ha), but an additional 184 ha to better protect the site.

Improvements in the preservation of threatened World Heritage site have led to its withdrawal from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The World Heritage Committee decided to remove the site of /…/ Butrint (Albania) during its 29th session currently taking place in Durban, South Africa (July 10 to 17). Butrint (Albania) was inscribed in 1992 and added to the Danger List in 1997 because of looting, lack of protection, management and conservation. The Committee noted that the reasons for placing the archaeological site with its vestiges from the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian periods on the Danger List no longer applied.

  • Last visit to Butrint: May 2007
  • Intro Updated Jul 13, 2009
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Reviews (43)

Comments (12)

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2010 at 6:48 AM

    What an interesting tourist destination! Butrint certainly has a lot to offer to tourists. The Lion Gate, Venetian fortress, the temple and the theater certainly attract us the most. Thanks for your virtual tour with stunning photos. ~ho & pang

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Jun 8, 2009 at 11:18 PM

    Jean-Louis, great informative pages as usual. I wish I knew more about Butrint when I was in Corfu. I would have tried to go.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2008 at 5:51 AM

    Such history here in Butrint. Enjoyed reading about the Venetian Fortress, the Lion Gate (reminds me of Mycenae in Greece) and the wonderful mosaics.

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    Arriving by ship at Corfu in August, but wondering whether I should take the hydrafoil exursion to Butrint. Would you stick to Corful or go to Butrint?

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Apr 12, 2008 at 8:55 AM

    I hope to visit Butrint next month. Looks like it's a very interesting place. Thanks for the virtual tour!

  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2008 at 11:47 PM

    Such a remote and beautiful place! I would love to visit Albania!

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2007 at 1:34 PM

    Excellent tips about this ancient site Butrint. I also like the vegetation tips, like the interesting information about the digitalis. By end of the month we will revisit known places in Morocco. Probably around Ouarzazate, some after 32 years.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2007 at 4:17 AM

    Thank you for the very interesting tour of the amazing layers of ancient ruins located at Butrint! Your distant overall views as well as those of the surrounding landscape taken from the Venetian castle are brilliant as well.

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2007 at 6:46 AM

    An interesting page on a place I'd never heard of, but with quite a history! It's good to find that efforts are now being made to better preserve it.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Aug 27, 2007 at 7:57 AM

    A very thorough and carefully worked page! I've never heard about this place but now I think it is worth a visit. Especially I liked historic background. Thanks Jean-Louis for the virtual tour.


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