Seismic hazards and economic development endanger the cultural heritage and the geosites of Durres, Albania.
published: Apr 24, 2013
ArtNo. ESP171908100017, Price: 8.00 €
Durres at the Adriatic Coast with about 145000 inhabitants is the second largest city of Albania. It is located 30 km west of Tirana and has the most important harbour of the country. Durres has been founded by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corcyra as Epidamnos in 627 B. C. (Fig. 1). When it became part of the Roman Empire in 229 B. C. it was renamed Durrhachium and was of great strategic importance during the Roman and Byzantine time. It was one of the starting points of the Via Egnatia which connected the Adriatic Sea with Byzantium (today Istanbul). Later, the owners of Durres changed from the Normans to the Crusaders, Venice, the Kingdom of Naples and finally to the Ottoman Empire. Fig. 1: Ancient Greek coins of Dyrrhachium: A cow feeding its calf (left) and two stylized flashes of lightning of Zeus (right). Evidence of this fluctuating history give many impressive ruins scattered over the city. The most remarkable witness is the Roman amphitheatre which gave space for 15000 spectators (Fig. 2). During its excavation the archaeologists discovered in one of the galleries a chapel decorated with mosaics from the 5th century (Fig, 3). Many other remnants of temples, noble houses, towers (Fig. 4), fortifications, churches, mosques etc. built through the centuries are scattered over the city.