Apollonia – The Illyrian city where studied the Emperor
In Albania there is a city that called Apollonia, where Augustus, the Roman Emperor himself studied Philosophy. During antiquity, the city of Apollonia was a Greek colony and former bishopric in Illyria. It was strategically located on the right bank of the river Aous(today known by the name of Vjosa River). Much of the city ruins are still presented in a great condition today, and are located in the Fier region, near Pojani (Albanian: Polina), in modern-day Albania.
Looking in today’s map of Albania, the Apollonia city is positioned in southwestern Albania, around 13 miles from the city of Fier. The archeological park features a fascinating landscape which has been luckily preserved in an exceptionally intact condition. It comprises a combination of greatarchitecture of monuments and nature. The area is attractive through its historical heritage and offers an atmosphere of relaxation and meditation.
The city of Apollonia was founded just ater the foundation of Epidamnus – Dyrrachium (today Durres / Albanian: Durrës). Because of its glory, it quickly became one of the most wellknown cities of the Adriatic basin.
In antiquity there were many cities bearing the name of Apollo (around 30 (thirty) cities bearing the same name), but Apollonia was mentioned more frequently from the other.
The city was part of the political communion of the Taulantia and was commonly known as Apollonia of Illyria.
According to the historical records,Apollonia of Illyria was founded during the 1st half of the 6th century B.C.from the Greek colonist from Corfu and Corinth. They were led by Gylax, who named the city after his name (Gylakeia).
To honor the powerful divinity Apollo, the city changed its name to Apollonia after its quick establishment.
Today, the city stands on a hilly plateau expanding the fertile plain of Musacchia with the Adriatic Sea and the hills of Mallakastra.
Archeologists discovered the ruins of Apollonia in the beginning of the 19th century.
In the 4th century AD Apollonia was indeed an important economic and trade center. As the development continued, the city was expanded over the whole hilly slope which included an area of around ca. 81 ha, while surrounded by a large wall of 3 m of width and 3 km of length.
Even thought situated a few kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, Apollonia’s position on the right bank of the Aous River gave it the ability to communicate with the coastal area of the country.
During its glorious days, the city attracted many personalities from the main empires of the ancient world such as the eminent roman philosopher and orator Cicero. He noted the city of Apollonia in his Philippics as “a great and important city”.
The city of Apollonia had an important role during this period. It became one of the most important gateways of the trans-balkanic Via Egnatia
Today, in the archaeological park there is a Museum of Archaeology placed at the old Monastery of Saint Mary.
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