Apollonia was founded by the Greeks in 600 BC as an important port along the route between Rome and Byzantium. Emperor Augustus studied there, and Aristotle mentioned the town in his book on politics. The city, 45 mi/75 km southwest of Tirana, lost its status when the harbor silted up and the river changed course after an earthquake in the third century AD. Only a small portion of Apollonia has been excavated, but it is still worth the effort to visit if you are in the area. The most impressive ruin is the restored facade of the Hall of Athletes (bouleuterion
). Nearby is the 13th-century Byzantine Monastery of St. Mary. It houses an archaeological museum with sculptures from the ruins. The museum also has an interesting collection of icons and murals.
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