Amantia Archaeological Site

Amantia was the ancient Greek capital of the Illyrian tribe of Amantes in Epirus. Ruins of Amantia are found close to the village of Plloca around the former Aoos and nowadays the Vlosa rivers valley, high in the Kurvelesh Mountains to the east of the city of Vlora. Amantia was founded in the 5th century BC and covered an area of 13 ha. Amantia occupied an important defensive position above the Vjosa river valley to the east towards the Kurvelesh Mountains, and on the road to the coast and the Bay of Vlora. By the 3rd century BC, the Amantia town was strengthened economically and minted its own coins. The town of Amantia was surrounded with a walled enclosure roughly 2100 meters long. A large fort was built with two gates and two defensive towers in the north. Amantia remained a small urban center and in early Christian times was the seat of a bishop. It is thought that Amantia may have been abandoned by the end of the 6 century AD.

The city of Amantia had its own acropolis and a Doric style temple dedicated to Aphrodite, constructed in the 3rd century B.C. The best preserved monument of the Amantia is the stadium which is 60 m long and 12.5 m wide. The Amantia stadium has 17 steps on one side and 8 on the other and could accommodate about 4000 people. A number of Greek inscriptions have been found on some Amantia stone finds. Although not much is known of the later Amantia history, it is assumed that in the 5th or the 6th century the Aphrodite temple was replaced by a Christian basilica. One of the interesting discoveries in Amantia site is the relief of the God of Fertility dating to the 3rd century BC. This object can be closely seen at the archaeological section of the National Historic Museum, while other finds from Amantia are displayed at the Archaeological Museum in Tirana.

Unfortunately, because of great negligence for preservation of the cultural heritage and maniacal treasure hunters activities in the Balkans and Albania, the ancient city of Amantia has been severely damaged by illegal diggers of tombs and archaeological sites.