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The view of Asklepios Sanctuary in Butrint.

Buthrotum (Albanian: Butrint) was an ancient Greek and later Roman city and bishopric in Epirus. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Buthrotum was a city of the Greek tribe of the Chaonians, later a Roman colony and a bishopric. It entered into decline in Late Antiquity, before being abandoned during the Middle Ages after a major earthquake flooded most of the city. in 1799, the local Ottoman governor Ali Pasha Tepelena conquered it, and it became a part of the Ottoman Empire until Albania gained its independence in 1912. By that time, the site of the original city had been unoccupied for centuries and was surrounded by malarial marshes.
After the communist government of Enver Hoxha took Albania over in 1944, foreign archaeological missions were banned. Albanian archaeologists including Hasan Ceka continued the work. Nikita Khrushchev visited the ruins in 1959 and suggested that Hoxha should turn the area into a submarine base. The Albanian Institute of Archaeology began larger scale excavations in the 1970s. Since 1993 further major excavations have taken place led by the Butrint Foundation in collaboration with the Albanian Institute of Archaeology. Recent excavations in the western defences of the city have revealed evidence of the continued use of the walls, implying the continuation of life in the town. The walls themselves certainly seem to have burnt down in the 9th century, but were subsequently repaired.

After the collapse of the communist regime in 1992, the new democratic government planned various major developments at the site. The same year remains of Buthrotum were included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. A major political and economic crisis in 1997 and lobbying stopped the airport plan and UNESCO placed it on the List of World Heritage in Danger because of looting, lack of protection, management and conservation. Archaeological missions during 1994–9 uncovered further Roman villas and an early Christian church.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10636 W: 146 N: 26799] (128489)
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