"Digging at Butrint" Top 5 Page for this destination Butrint by illumina
Butrint Travel Guide: 93 reviews and 202 photos
Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, occupies a small peninsula between the Straits of Corfu and Lake Butrint. 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.
These photos were taken in September 2002. This shows Lake Butrint from the peninsula, looking towards the site of Diaporit where I spent almost a month digging, and beyond, what we were told was the Greek border on top of Mile mountain (the map shows it being a long way behind the mountain, but colleagues who went for a climb up there did get stopped by Greek Army guards!!). We quite often crossed the lake by small motorboat to reach the site.
This view from Butrint castle, built by the Venetians, looks out over the Vrina plain along one of the canals dug with the help of the Chinese communist government, towards the village of Shen Deli.
A very interesting experience to pass through the villages of the Vrina plain on the way to work (if the boat was too crowded we took the long way round by Landrover!). Vrine, Shen Deli, Xarra; all had their own character. There's a mixture of different religions in Albania, and I think each village represented one of them (Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim respectively; the gleaming white minaret of the mosque at Xarra was particularly attractive), but there seems to be no tension at all, and I was told that people frequently convert to a different religion if it will aid them in their career for example. A very refreshing perspective.
This site on the shores of the lake contains the remnants of a Roman villa, dating to between the late 3rd century BC and the 3rd century AD, overlain by a late 5th century three-aisled church, containing marble tombs which, until the 14th century, held the bones of saints, martyrs or church patrons.
It was a marvellous experience to work here, with such a friendly bunch of British, Irish and Albanian archaeologists; a real 'once in a lifetime' trip!
Very little survives of the original castle, thought to have been built by Michael II, Despot of Epirus. Much of the... more travel advice
The lion gate is named after the large relief depicting a lion attacking a bull which was placed on the lintel some time... more travel advice
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