Ruins in Durrës
The Durrës Amphitheater is an amphitheater, located in Durrës, Albania. It was built after the 2nd century B.C., and is one of the region’s largest Roman buildings. It was built by the Roman Emperor Trajan. who is considered the second of the Five Great Emperors. During his 19 year rule Rome flourished (98-117 A.D.).
It is elliptical in shape, about 130m at its longest point, with the arena itself measuring about 60m by 40M across. The Durrës Amphitheater was in use for more than three decades, and had a capacity of between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators. You can go below to the vaults below the seats to see how the building was built. The Romans alternated brick with ‘opus incertum’ (irregular brockwork). It was damaged twice by earthquakes in the 6th and 10th centuries.
The site was rediscovered only in 1966, and was only slightly excavated as part of of it is still covered by housing.
With the fall of Emperor Honorius (393-423 A.D.), around the 4th century, started the decline of the Roman Empire. During this period the arena was converted into a graveyard. A church was built in the amphitheater, for the Christians of Durrës. Initially, its walls were decorated with beautiful frescoes that were subsequently permanently transformed into mosaic panels of St. Stephen, the Durrës martyr, as well as other saints: St. Stephen, St. Mary, St. Irin, St. Sophia and St. Gabriel.
Knowable English-speaking guides are accessible on site daily until 3 pm; they operate on a tipping basis.
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Visiting Durrës Amphitheatre
9am-7pm Apr–mid-Oct, to 6pm mid-Oct–Mar