Apollonia Archaeological Park
Historic Building, Museum and Ruins in Fier
The Apollonia Archaeological Park located about 8 km to the west of Fier. The park consists of the Ardenica Monastery, Archaeological Museum and the ruins of Apollonia.
Apollonia, was a Greek colony founded in the 6th century BC. The city had a strong Illyrian element and was built in the lands of the Illyrian, Taulantii tribe. The city took its name from the god Apollo. The city grew due to its strategically important harbor, and deposits of asphalt which was valuable for caulking ships. Apollonia continued to flourish under Roman rule and was noted by Cicero as a great and important city. The site is approximately 1 km from the Via Egnatia. The city began to decline in the 3rd century AD when its harbor started to silt up. Among the ruins of Apollonia can be found the portico of a temple, an Odeon theater, a Library, Nimfeu (a large and decorated fountain), surrounding Wall, villa with a impluvium (a square basin in the center of the atrium of an ancient Roman house, which received rainwater from an opening in the roof), a Roman Villa with mosaics and temple.
The Archaeological Museum opened in 1958, was located in the converted monastery of Saint Mary and housed the impressive collection of finds that were being excavated at nearby Apollonia. After two major thefts at the beginning of the 1990s the museum was closed for security reasons but reopened in 2011. The museum consists of six rooms holding the archaeological collection of Appolonia; the statuary portico, which housed large marble sculptures and the refectory which contain in situ frescoes, archaeological remains and a mosaic.
Ardenica Monastery was built by Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1282. In 1451, Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania, married his wife Andronika Arianiti, here. The monastery is made up of Saint Mary’s Church, the chapel of the Saint Trinity, a mill, a barn and surrounded by high walls. The Church of Saint Mary has frescos from Kostandin Zografi and Athanas Zografi, who are famous icon painters.
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Visiting Apollonia Archaeological Park