Byllis is an archeological site you can not miss if you plan on visiting Vlore!
Anyone who has ever heard anything about Albania probably knows that its ancient history always traces you back to the Illyrian tribes. Of course, they left the biggest marks on its culture and shape today. And so is the story of the Byllis, an ancient chief city of the Illyrian tribe called Bylliones. Not many people know about it, which makes it a true hidden treasure in Albania to explore and discover in peace.
Situated just one hour from popular Vlore, on the hill right beside the village of Hekal, a massive archeological site extends across 30 hectares ( 300.000 square meters) dating back to somewhere between the 3rd and 4th century BC.
The Bylliones were an Illyrian tribe that lived in the southern part of Illyria, which corresponds to present-day Albania in the valley of the Vjosa River, the last wild river in Europe.
They were mostly Hellenized and bilingual, often constructing forts to protect themselves from a Greek colony called Apollonia. Their territory spread from Luftinje and Vjosa towards the Mallakastra mountains.
Their most important center, also called koinon at that time was Byllis, a settlement built within a preexisting fort surrounded by large 2.25 kilometers long and 3.5 meters wide walls.
After the Illyrians, the city of Byllis came under the control of the Roman Empire and continued to be an important settlement as part of Epirus Nova.
During excavations, archaeologists discovered three basilicas, houses, a cathedral, an oil workshop, cellars, and an arsenal. The site also included a theater. All were built in different periods.
Today, as beautiful as Byllis is, it hides an enormous amount of secrets that archeologists are still working on. In 2003, Byllis was named an archaeological park and became one of the most important sites in Albania, together with Amantia and Butrint.
By visiting this magical place you can enjoy a combination of history, amazing views of Vjosa and Mallakastra mountains, occasional visitors, and quietness.
The ticket price is 4 euros ( 400 lek) for adults, 1.2 euros (120 lek) for students and the entrance is free for children under 12.
In the vicinity of the park, you will also come across a bar/restaurant where you can order your favorite refreshments and enjoy as the sunset hits the valley.