Apollonia was an ancient Greek city located in the Fier County, in modern-day Albania. The Museum of Apollonia (also called Fier Archaeological Museum) contains artifacts unearthed from the ancient Apollonia. Apollonia flourished in the Roman period and was home to a renowned school of philosophy, but began to decline in the 3rd century AD when its harbor started silting up as a result of an earthquake. It was abandoned by the end of Late Antiquity. Apollonia is UNESCO tentative list site.
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Other places we know in Albania
Durrës (Durres) - Known for archaeological site, architecture, beach, marina, venetian empire. UNESCO tentative list.
Last updated on: 22 June 2020
The town of Apollonia was founded in 588 BC by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth on a site where native Illyrian tribes lived, and was perhaps the most important of the several classical towns known as Apollonia.
The site of Apollonia lay on the territory of the Taulantii, a cluster of Illyrian tribes that remained closely involved with the settlement for centuries and lived alongside the Greek colonists. The city was originally been named Gylakeia after its founder, Gylax, but the name was later changed to honor the god Apollo. This wasn't the only city named for the god Apollo. There were 24 other cities named Apollonia, but Illyria's Apollonia was the most important and played a major role as a trading intermediary between the Hellenists and the Illyrians. It is estimated that the city had about 60,000 inhabitants.
Aristotle considered Apollonia an important example of an oligarchic system, as the descendants of the Greek colonists controlled the city and helped Illyrians to learn how to govern.
Apollonia was an important port on the Illyrian coast as the most convenient link between Brundusium and northern Greece, and as one of the western starting points of the Via Egnatia leading east to Thessaloniki and Byzantium in Thrace. It had its own mint, stamping coins showing a cow suckling her calf on the obverse and a double stellate pattern on the reverse, which have been found as far away as the basin of the Danube.
The city was for a time included among the dominions of Pyrrhus of Epirus. In 229 BC, it came under the control of the Roman Republic, to which it was firmly loyal; it was rewarded in 168 BC with booty seized from Gentius, the defeated king of Illyria. In 148 BC, Apollonia became part of the Roman province of Macedonia, specifically of Epirus Nova. In the Roman Civil War between Pompey and Julius Caesar, it supported the latter, but fell to Marcus Junius Brutus in 48 BC. The later Roman emperor Augustus studied in Apollonia in 44 BC under the tutelage of Athenodorus of Tarsus; it was there that he received news of Caesar's murder.
Apollonia flourished under Roman rule and was noted by Cicero in his Philippicae as magna urbs et gravis, a great and important city. Christianity was established in the city at an early stage, and bishops from Apollonia were present during the First Council of Ephesus (431) and the Council of Chalcedon (451).
Apollonia decline began in the 3rd century AD, when an earthquake changed the path of the Aoös river, causing the harbour to silt up and the inland area to become a malaria-ridden swamp. The city became increasingly uninhabitable as the inland swamp expanded, and the nearby settlement of Avlona (modern-day Vlorë) became dominant.
By the end of antiquity, the city was largely depopulated, hosting only a small Christian community. This community, which probably is part of the site of the old city, built on a nearby hill the church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, now part of the Ardenica Monastery.
The Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Ardenica, or simply Ardenica Monastery, is an Eastern Orthodox monastery, built by Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1282, after the victory against the Angevins in the Siege of Berat. The Ardenica monastery is famous as the place where, in 1451, was celebrated the marriage of Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania, with Andronika Arianiti, Albanian noblewoman. Her sister Angelina married Serbian ruler Stefan Branković and she is venerated as a saint in the Serbian Orthodox Church. Andronika had a close friendship with the second wife of King Ferdinand I of Naples, Joanna of Aragon who is also the sister of Ferdinand of Aragon.
Apollonia related tours
We at Monterrasol Travel welcome you to see Apollonia during multiday private car tour. Contact us if you would like to customize your tour to Apollonia.
We have developed several tours that visiting this beautiful place. But, if you have a special conditions or any from these tours fit you, please do not hesitate to contact us, we can organize a tour exactly as you would like. And remember, we have no problems to take you from almost any place where you stay, hotel or private accommodation.
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