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This valuable archaeological remnant of the Roman period, located only a few kilometers from Gjirokastra, is a must for ancient history buffs.
This touristic site preserves the ruins of one of the most important cities of southern Albania during the Roman Empire. Built strategically in the valley of the Drin River near the village of Sofratikë, 11 kilometers south of Gjirokastra, this Roman city extended along approximately 16 hectares of land. Originally inhabited by the Chaonians, a Greek tribe, this region was once part of ancient Epirus (modern-day Albania).
As its name suggests, Hadrianopolis was constructed during the 2nd century AD by Roman emperor Hadrian, after the burning and destruction of Antigonea. In the 6th century AD, Byzantine emperor Justinian I re-founded Hadrianopolis as Justinianopolis. Now, Hadrianopolis is part of the Antigonea Archaeological Park.
The impressive Hadrianopolis theater was the first, among the countless other valuable ruins to be uncovered by a landslide in the 1970s. However, it was not until 1984 that local farmers noticed the upper part of the amphitheater. Further excavations by Albanian and Italian archaeologists unearthed the rest of this ancient city, which is surrounded by spectacular valleys and a serene landscape.
Designed in typical Roman architeture, the theater is surrounded by semicircular stairs made of stone that could sit hundreds of spectators as well as small, protective walls. The site includes another large building which is thought to have been a bath complex with changing rooms. Locals refer to Hadrianopolis as Sofratika’s theater.
The ancient archeological city of Hadrianopolis is located along the villages in the peripheries of Gjirokastra, over the valley of the Drin River. Getting there is fairly easy by following the road Gjirokastra-Kakavija. The ruins of the ancient roman city are located across the village of Sofratika. For the map, click here.