A Journey through Antiquity in Vlora - Into Albania

A Journey through Antiquity in Vlora

Since antiquity, Vlora has enjoyed and gained from its magnificent geographical position. Its long coastline and surrounding landscape was a shelter for the early Albanian cities, especially during times of war. Archaeological traces of Aulona, present-day Vlora, date the city’s history back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. Albanian settlements like Amantia, Kanina, Oriku are some of the most impressive present-day cities with ancient beginnings and must-see destinations!

Ancient City of Orik

The city lies along Vlora’s southwestern coast, very near the Karaburun peninsula. Archaeological remnants reveal the province as one of the most important among the highly developed southern settlements! It was actually in ancient Orik that Ceasar prepared his attacks against those who did not obey the southern Italian cities. Unfortunately, during the communist period in Albania, archeological excavations in Orikum were limited. At the time, the area functioned solely as a military base. Indeed, the establishment of the Archaeological Park of Orikum, within the military base of Pashaliman, happened only a few years ago. The park is open every day of the week, from 9 am to 6 pm. Among many other ruins, the park includes especially beautiful traces of an ancient Roman-style theater.

Ancient City of Orik

Archaeological Park of Orik, Vlora, Source: Ministry of Culture

Illyrian City of Amantia

This archaeological park is yet another powerful testimony to the ancient history of the Ionian coast! Amantia was founded during the 5th century B.C. Its particular appeal lies in its dwellings and fortifications, which were created on very challenging mountainous terrain. Ruins of an ancient stadium, entirely built with blocks of stone, are perhaps the most impressive part! According to these ruins, the stadium had a total of 17 rows of seats and a central stage. Other archeological remains, belonging to shelters of the ancient city’s inhabitants, surround the monumental complex. You can find the park by following the old road of Vlora-Tepelena.

Amantia

Archaeological Park of Amantia, Vlora, photo by Intoalbania

Kanina

Another must-see in your journey through Vlora’s antiquity!  Excavations in the canyon testify to an Illyrian culture of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, up until the 6th century A.D. Kanina, which held the same name then as it does today, offers the most spectacular view of the Vlora Bay! Another special sight is the Castle of Kanina, perfectly positioned in this half-mountainous and half-coastal terrain. As you stand on the castle grounds, you can turn back the clock and imagine large ships returning to the Aulona port from Trieste, Venice, Corfu, Ioannina, Malta and Cyprus.

Kanina Castle in Vlora. Photo Courtesy of Nikol Likja

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