Saturday, October 18, 2008

Heading South: The Beaches

Our first stop was in Apollonia, an ancient city founded by Corinthian colonists around 600 BC. It's about a two hour drive from Tirana, along rough, dusty roads. It is said that the Roman Emperor Augustus (then called Octavian) studied here. Apparently Apollonia was an important port city for many centuries. Augustus declared Apollonia a "free and immune city", which meant the city didn't have to pay taxes to the Roman government. The people spoke Greek rather than Latin and used their own symbols on their coins. Inside the complex is a Byzantine monastery and beautiful little church, thought to date back to the 13th century. There are no monks that use the church still and I read that the church was only used as an archaelogical base. However, when we were there, we found modern pews and candles lit so someone must have been a-prayin'...

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