Butrint – an UNESCO World Heritage site. Over the centuries, the ancient town had disappeared under layers of silt and vegetation. In recent years, however, archaeologists have uncovered some of the finest working town remains in the Mediterranean
At the edge of the lake is the ancient city of Vouthrota. With its Venetian tower near the entrance, ancient theatre, Temple of Asclepius, gymnasium, Roman baths, Roman baptistery, the Lion Gate and the enormous cyclopean walls will transport you back in time.
At the top of the hill stands the Venetian castle, offering breath-taking, panoramic views of the ancient city, the lake and the vast plains below.
According to one of the many legends, in 12th century B.C. Helenus, son of King Priamus of Troy, travelled west after the fall of Troy.
On his journey, he landed on the island of Corfu and decided to sacrifice a bull to the Olympian God Apollo, who was one of the six God protectors of Troy. During the sacrificing the bull escaped from the knife of Helenus and half wounded, swam across the Ionian Sea. He ended up in mainland Epirus and died by haemorrhage (severe bleeding). Helenus who followed the bull on his ship and also landed in the mainland Epirus took the death of the bull as an auspicious sign of Apollo and built there a miniature town of Troy, giving to it the name Voutrotos, meaning in ancient Greek “the wounded bull”. With “Vous” meaning bull and “throtos” meaning vulnerable.
According to Neritan Ceca (an Albanian archaeologist, professor, and politician), Voutrotos (Butrint) was a flourishing city with a harbour, a theatre, and a sanctuary dedicated to the God of health Asclepius. By the time of Alexander the Great two centuries later, the Romans made it a supply base for their Balkan campaigns. In the years 49-48 B.C. it was serving as a base for Caesar’s army, who were tied up in fighting against Pompeius army in Apollonia and Dyrrachium.
Butrint is a unique harmony of four civilizations, of four ancient cities from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian periods all built one above the other and next to each other in the still undiscovered country of the “eagle” or in Albanian “shqiponjë”.