Roman Historical Site: Buthrotum
Relevance to the Roman Emperors Route: 1st to 6th centuries A.D.
Butrint’s reputation was already well established in antiquity when the Roman poet Virgil has his hero Aeneas utter these famous words on entering Buthrotum, “I see here a little Troy.” Butrint today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in part because of its preserved ancient architecture and natural Mediterranean setting. The early settlement grew up under the influence of the Greek colony on the nearby island of Corfu across the channel in the Ionian Sea. Julius Caesar passed through here during the Civil War and made it a colony for his veterans. Butrint’s colonial status was renewed by the Emperor Augustus, and veterans from his legions were settled here after his defeat of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra at Actium. Continued prosperity as a harbour town in the Roman Empire added Roman buildings to the already impressive inventory of Greek architecture. The well preserved architectural remains include massive fortification walls, a Greek theatre with Roman additions and a nymphaeum fountain which was connected to a Roman aqueduct. The 6th century early Christian basilica still has restored walls standing to their original height.
Visitor center at the site
Gallery & Video
Domestic and English
Restaurant, cafe or bar
Souvenir shop/Craft shop
Interpretation at the site
Interpretative signs, maps, guidelines
Guides, professor’s archaeologists, curator, Actors, volunteers
Website of Locality
Butrint / Saranda is 3 hr 42 min (147 km) away from Fier. An alternate way on a modern superhighway is through Greece (Egnatia Odos), which is only 1 hr 23 min (63.4 km) away from the important Greek port Igumenitsa. Using the same superhighway it is possible to access Ohrid in 6 hr 16 min (392 km), Bitola in 5 hr 36 min (281 km) or Gradsko/Stobi in 6 hr 8min (485km). In the future it would be logical to include in the itinerary Thessaloniki (with outstanding remains of the Roman Emperor Galerius’ imperial palace complex), which is 5 hr (364 km) from Saranda, but also closer to Ohrid, Bitola or Gradsko. Saranda is accessible by road, by boat (from the nearby Greek island of Corfu) or by air from the international airports in Tirana or Corfu. The archaeological site can also be reached by city bus, which operates frequently from Saranda. A large parking area is located in the front of the site. Due to size of the National Park Butrint (9,424.4 ha) well marked and maintained trails are present, but tourists with reduced mobility must be careful when moving on the site (frequent stairs, bridges, rock outcrops).
Tourism info points are available in Saranda and also at the entrance point of the archeological site, with tickets, souvenirs and guide service on demand. Locally-produced, handmade souvenirs are on sale within the site mostly during summer months. Since it is protected area, only one hotel with a restaurant is available in Butrint, but Saranda is 40 min away (28.3 km), a center of seaside tourist activities and Ksamil, which offers many small hotels. Saranda is a fast growing tourist destination, with plenty of hotels, apartments, cafe bars and restaurants. Other attractions in this area, besides Roman remains, are the national park (Ramsar area), Gyrokastra (an Ottoman style city), and the Castle of Lekuresi. The offer of active tourism is also rich: beaches, diving, and horse riding or simply following hiking routes. Butrint has a very important museum, and some additional exhibition facilities are available at Saranda.
This region is not famous for wines, but there is one winery (Nurellari) offering this kind of experience.
Address: Butrint, Sarande
Tel. +355 69 226 6969
How to reach Butrint
The tourists, who come here from Greece, reach the border of Kakavi in two ways: from Ioannina and Igumenitsa.
You can fly from Athens to Ioannina, and then the roadway from Janina to Kakavi takes around 40 minutes by bus or taxi. When you reach Kakavi, you follow this itinerary: Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Jergucat-Qafe e Muzines-Sarande. Through Qafe-Bota, the itinerary is Igoumenitsa-Qafe Bote-Sarande, but the roadway is narrower.
Skopje international airport (http://skp.airports.com.mk/default.aspx?ItemID=345); Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle airport (http://ohd.airports.com.mk/default.aspx?ItemID=345#)
Two itineraries: Tirana-Durres-Fieri-Vlora-Dhermi-Saranda; Tirana-Durresi-Fieri-Mallakastra-Tepelena-Gjirokastra-Saranda
Saranda can be reached directly from Corfu (Greek “Kerkyra”) via a ferry. (http://www.ionian-cruises.com/lines.php)
Via SH8, the road that runs along the Albanian coast; Via the road leading north from Konispol (a town close to the Southern border with Greece); Via SH4, the road leading west from Kakavia (Kakavia is a border town which lies on the South-Eastern Greek-Albanian border). Albanians from Kosovo and Macedonia follow this itinerary to reach Saranda: Strufe-Qafe Thana-Librazhd-Elbasani-Rrogozhina-Fier.