The region which is today Albania has played a strategic role in ancient times and has been a point of contact between Illyrian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Durres, Apollonia, Butrint, Phoenice, Byllis and Shkodra hide a wealth of great archaeological value, still largely unknown.

The oldest record of the name Albania is found in a historical document written by the Byzantine historian Michael Attaleiates around the X century. B.C. Before this, no written sources exist and it is, therefore, appropriate to search for information through archeology.

In the Iron Age, the mountainous territory of Albania was occupied by tribes with Illyrian ethnicity, while the maritime coast and its hinterland were the subject of a gradual colonization by the Greeks.

There is then no doubt that the particular geographical position of Albania, located between East and West and between the Latin language area and the Greek language area influenced significantly the history of the country.

Two wars between Caesar and Pompey and the one between Octavian, Antony and Cleopatra took place in the seas close to the current Albanian coast. The results of those wars had a great influence on the further course of the European history.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Albania was the scene of migration of Goths and Slaves and it found itself in the center of attention in the Middle Ages during the agitated period of the fall of Constantinople. Giorgio Castriot Skanderbeg, the most important Albanian national hero, is remembered for opposing the advance of the Ottomans towards the West.

Today, the image of the country in the world is strongly linked to the communist dictatorship, to the social conflicts in the decades after the fall of the "Wall" and by the massive emigration in the nineties. However, in the last decadea fast process of transformation has started : Tirana has become a cosmopolitan capital and the countryside presents a pristine landscape and cultural heritage in which the archaeological component plays an important role.


Legal aspects


The Albanian archaeological park system was legally decided with the adoption of Law No. 9048, of 07 April, 2003 - On Cultural Heritage. With art.53, beside Butrint, other 8 archaeological parks in Lezha, Shkodra,Apollonia, Byllis, Amantia, Orikum, Antigoneia and Finiq were recognized. By this law some rules concerning the protection of the territory from unauthorized developments and constructions were established.

DCM No. 396, of 31 March, 2005, - On the approval of borders and administration regulations of the archaeological parks of Shkodra, Lezha, Apollonia, Bylis, Amanatia, Orikum, Antigonea, Finiq and Butrint.

According to a decision of the Prime Minister of Albania , Edi Rama, on the 1st of May 2014, some changes will be made to the decision No 396 dated 31.3.2005.The official journal of the Prime Minister states that pursuant to Article 100 of the Constitution " On the organization and functioning of the state administration " of 9048 law from 2003, " On Cultural Heritage " , on the proposal of the Minister of Culture, the Council Ministers decided that the structures responsible for managing archaeological parks are changed as described in ”adminitrative organisation”.


Institutions involved


The National Board of Archaeological Parks is a decision-making body that oversees the activities of the Offices for the Administration and Coordination of Archaeological Parks and approves the strategy and development programs of the National Archaeological Parks. The Board is chaired by the Minister of Culture and consists of representatives from:


Administrative organisation



By decision of the Council of Ministers of May 1st, 2014, there are changes in the administration offices of the Archaeological Park of Shkodra - Lezha , Amantia , Orikum, Finiq, Antigonea, which will submit all legal documentation to their relevant regional directories in Shkodra , Vlora and Gjirokastra. The changes are in terms of budget funding that will be passed to the relevant regional directorates.



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