Ulpiana – Iustiniana Secunda Archaeological site

Ulpiana – Iustiniana Secunda Archaeological site

On the southern outskirts of Pristina, close to Gracanica Monastery, the vast remains of Ulpiana can be found – the most important Roman and Byzantium settlement of Upper Mesia – Moesia Superior in present-day Kosovo and Metohija. Remains of Ulpiana spread on the surface of 70 hectares between Pristina, Gracanica and Lipljan, only 1 km away from the Gracanica Monastery. The town of Ulpiana prospered from the 2nd to the 4th century AD, when it was the seat of Bishopric and was called Municipium Ulpiana Splendidissima. Monumental parts of Ulpiana settlement were found : necropolis, castrum, early-christian basilica, walls… Territory of RES PUBLICA ULPIANA spread its borders to the south with the Scupi territory and to the north and north-west to Ad Fines by Kuršumlija.

Traces of mining on this area date back from the period before Romans inhabited it, and testify that the earlier indigenous settlement surely existed. Christian Martyrs Florus and Laurus, according to a biography, came to this settlement from Illyria as carvers to build a pagan temple. There are historical evidences of Emperor Theodosius’s visit to Ulpiana in 380. Although the town of Ulpiana was encircled with strong, 3 meters thick walls, in the form of horse-show and reinforced with towers on the distances of 30 meters, Goths devastated it in 471.  Ulpiana was twice sacked by the Goths and then destroyed in the 518 by earthquake. Ulpiana was reestablished by the Emperor Iustinian in the middle of the 6th century, hence named the Iustiniana Secunda. The Ulpiana’s most important feature is the uncovered necropolis with the white marble sarcophagi and mosaic floors. The town of Ulpiana existed in continuity as main hubs of political, cultural and economic activity until the very beginning of the 7th century when it was destroyed by Avars and Germans. The Ulpiana site features extraordinary cultural values from different periods which increases its archaeological, architectural, historical and economical importance.

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