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Archeological park of Apollonia

The ancient city Apollonia  flourished during the 4th century AD as an important economic and trade center. Over time it was expanded over the whole hilly slope including an area of ca. 81 ha, surrounded by a large wall of 3 km of length and 3 m of width. Although Apollonia was situated few kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, its position on the right bank of the Vjosa River enabled its communication with the coastal part of the territory. In the two hilltops dominating the city stands the temenos area (the sacred area around the temple of Apollon ) and the Arx (military citadel). Between the two hilltops were situated the public buildings of the ancient city, which continued to experience a period of grandeur and splendor under the successive roman rule (since 229 BC).

Different factors, as the earthquake of the year 234 AD which changed the riverbed of Vjosa, the failure of the existent social structure and the gothic invasions caused the gradual decline and the loss of the status of Apollonia as a “port city”. The documentary sources of the 4th century AD refer to Apollonia as an important Episcopal residence, which during the 5th century AD was transferred in the neighboring city of Byllis

The fame of the city attracted many personalities of the largest empire of the ancient world as the eminent roman philosopher and orator Cicero, which noted Apollonia in his Philippics as magna urbs et gravis (a great and important city). During this period the city became one of the most important gateways of the transballkanik Via Egnatia, while in its famous Academy has studied and underwent military training Octavianus, accompanied by Agrippas, the eminent general and statesman of the Roman Empire. After a long period of continuous economic and cultural development, Apollonia fell into decline until its total abandonment during the medieval period. The culture and the general development of the city maintained a clear Greek character throughout its existence. However, the independent economic and politic activity as well as the close relationships with the Illyrian hinterland determined a distinctive physiognomy of the apollonian culture.

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