Butrint is a UNESCO World Heritage site that rightfully deserves the honor. It’s been ruled by Romans, Venetians, Byzantines, and Ottomans, all of whom have left their mark on Butrint. The ancient ruins of Butrint, 18km south of Saranda, are famed for their size, beauty and tranquility. They’re in a fantastic natural setting and are part of a 29-sq-km national park. The remains – Albania’s finest – are from a variety of periods, spanning 2500 years. Set aside at least two hours to explore.
The fortifications bear testimony to the different stages of their construction from the time of the Greek colony until the Middle Ages. The most interesting ancient Greek monument is the theatre which is fairly well preserved. The major ruin from the paleo-Christian era is the baptistery, an ancient Roman monument adapted to the cultural needs of Christianity. Its floor has a beautiful mosaic decoration. The paleo-Christian basilica was rebuilt in the 9th century and the ruins are sufficiently well preserved to permit analysis of the structure (three naves with a transept and an exterior polygonal apse).
The authenticity of the World Heritage property Butrint is related to its excellent preservation on a site where the changing human interaction with the environment can be observed in the surviving monuments, the below-ground archaeology and the surrounding landscape. The quality of the restoration and conservation work carried out since 1924 has been high. Later interventions have abide by contemporary standards as set out in the 1964 Venice Charter.
How to get there:
It’ll cost 100 lek (less than $1 USD) and take about 1 hour to get to Butrint. Buses typically run every 2 hours. Ask your hostel or hotel when the bus will be running; it changes frequently. When you go back, the bus will pick you up outside of a restaurant called Livia near the front of the parking lot.
If you’re based in Saranda: Buses from Saranda (100 lekë, 20 minutes, hourly from 8.30am to 5.30pm) leave from outside the ZIT Information Centre, returning from Butrint hourly on the hour.