I've seen my fair share of ancient ruins over the years, but none of them prepared me for Butrint.

Most of the sites I've visited had either little to show for or had more fencing and guards around it than a maximum security prison. Butrint is different. Butrint is an archeological petting zoo. I had full access to this incredible site. I could climb around these ruins and I could sit back relaxing without some Jackbooted 'volunteer' keeping a hawkish eye on me. Best of all, I had this whole large complex to soak up by myself . . . no hordes of obnoxious tourists to disturb my three hours of peaceful exploration. I became in-tuned with this ancient city.

It's believed that Butrint was founded by Greeks from Corfu the 7th century BC. The city grew to more 10,000 residents before it's glory started to fade. The Romans destroyed and rebuilt the city in the 2nd century BC. While Christians later expanded the city, constant invasions and natural disasters lead to its abandonment in the late 14th century. The water table rose, hid the city in deep mud and heavy vegetation and protected it from the ravages of man and nature.

In the early 20th century, a group of Italian archeologists discovered the ruins, started escavating the site and brought the artifacts back to Italy. The looting ceased in 1941 with the arrival of WWII. At the end of the war, Albanian archeologists continued the work to its present day condition.

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