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Antigoneia PDF Print Email
Lying on the hills along the eastern side the Drinos valley, Antigoneia is reached by a long, windy – and largely unpaved – road from the lower city of Gjirokastra. The site is on a long flat-topped hill near the village of Sarqinishte, which itself has two fine 17th century churches.

The site was supposedly founded by King Pyrrhus of Epirus in the 3rd century BC and named in honour of his wife Antigone. However, recent excavations seem to have recovered some evidence that there was occupation here already in the 4th century. Archaeological excavations in the 1970s identified the site via the name stamped on a series of bronze voting tokens that were found within the city.
The northern end of the site is a prominent hill that seems to have been used as the city’s acropolis, this and the remaining of the hilltop are surrounded by a series of fine walls. Within, houses, streets and the agora have been excavated. A distinct layer of burning found all over the walled area is normally associated with the destruction of Antigoneia by the Roman Consul Aemilius Paullus in 167 BC. The site was then abandoned except for a small triconch church with mosaics, which was erected in a spectacular position on the very southern end of the hill in the 6th century AD.