Ancient Greek Sites

Byllis

Byllis was an ancient city located in the region of Illyria, today in Vlorë, 25 kilometers from the sea in Albania. Dating back to the 4th century BCE, it is one of the most important archeological sites in Albania. The city, although a Greek speaking settlement was located on the territory of the Illyrian tribe of Bylliones. The later were first attested in the mid-4th century BC, in the description of the geographer P ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Vlorë, Albania

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, the second oldest temple in Syracuse after that of Apollo in Ortigia, rose in the ancient village called Polichne, in a panoramic position, slightly elevated. The Doric building, surrounded by large monolithic columns, appeared really impressive. Today, what is left of the huge building (which measured 20.50 meters x 60) is part of crepidoma and two columns of the south side. From it there ...
Founded: 6th century BCE | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Archaeological Park of Occhiolà

On the three ridges of the hill of Terravecchia it is situated the ancient area of Occhiolà, that developed him along an only principal road axle of medieval origin, it notices a great deal simple structures, typical of a country suburb. On the tall part the imposing castle was found, of which lean traces remain, among which a buttress realized with blocks of square stone. This hilly system that constitutes the greate ...
Founded: 5th century BCE | Location: Grammichele, Italy

Palike

Palike was an ancient city on Sicily. Its archeological site is located in Rocchicella on a spur of basalt in the valley of the Margi river. There are no certain origins to this ancient town. Diodorus Siculus writes that it was founded in 453 BCE by the native Sikel leader Ducetius. It was named after the sanctuary of the Palici nearby. The city was surrounded by strong walls and grew rapidly because of the fertility of i ...
Founded: 453 BCE | Location: Rocchicella, Italy

Adranon

Monte Adranone is a mountain rising 899 metres above sea level in the north of the comune of Sambuca di Sicilia. At the summit of the mountain are the remains of the ancient city of Adranon, one of the more important archaeological sites in Sicily. Adranon was settled at the beginning of the 5th century BC, destroyed during the 3rd century BC, according to data from archaeological excavations. The city is distinct from t ...
Founded: 5th century BCE | Location: Sambuca di Sicilia, Italy

The Macedonian Tomb

The Tomb of Agios Athanasios is located under an enormous tumulus in the area of Thessaloniki, yet only 15 kilometers away from Pella. It has been looted but the small single chamber offers a unique example of richly decorated walls in surprisingly fresh colors. It dates from the last quarter of the fourth century BC, the Alexander-era. Reason enough to stop here for a moment. As customary, the front of the tomb was enti ...
Founded: 4th century BCE | Location: Chalkidona, Greece

Caulonia

Caulonia was an ancient city of Magna Graecia on the shore of the Ionian Sea. In ancient times the shoreline of Caulonia lay 300 meter further seawards. There is no literary evidence for the foundation date of Caulonia, but archeological evidence shows that it was founded early in the second half of the seventh century BCE. Both Strabo and Pausanias mention that the city was founded by Achaean Greek colonists. In 389 BC ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Monasterace, Italy

Vroukounta

The ancient Vrykous city of the Dorians may have reached its peak during the 4th and the 3rd centuries BC, but this place seems to have been inhabited since the Minoan – Mycenaean era. The ancient city has been completely looted. Its carved tombs stand wide open with no grave goods left in them. The residents Christianized the place during the next centuries (according to reports of the Archaeological Service three basi ...
Founded: 4th century BCE | Location: Karpathos, Greece

Eleutherna

Eleutherna was an ancient city-state in Crete. During the ninth century BCE, in sub-Mycenaean times, in the Geometric Period of the later Greek Dark Ages, Dorians colonized the city on a steep, naturally fortified ridge. The city"s location made it a natural crossroads, as it lay between Cydonia on the northwest coast and Knossos, and between the shore, where it controlled its ports, Stavromenos and Pano ...
Founded: 800-900 BC | Location: Rethymno, Greece

Antigonea

Antigonea was an ancient Greek city in Chaonia, Epirus, and the chief inland city of the ancient Chaonians. It was founded in the 3rd century BC by Pyrrhus of Epirus, who named it after one of his wives, Antigone, daughter of Berenice I and step-daughter of Ptolemy I of Egypt. 'The straits near Antigoneia' were mentioned in 230 BC, when a force of Illyrians under Scerdilaidas passed the city to join an invading ...
Founded: 300-200 BCE | Location: Gjirokaster, Albania

Stari Grad Plain

The Stari Grad Plain of the town of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar is an agricultural landscape that was set up by the ancient Greek colonists in the 4th century BC, and remains in use. The plain is generally still in its original form. The ancient layout has been preserved by careful maintenance of the stone walls over 24 centuries, along with the stone shelters (known locally as trims), and the water collection system ...
Founded: 4th century BCE | Location: Stari Grad, Croatia

Casmenae

Casmenae or Kasmenai was an ancient Greek colony located on the Hyblaean Mountains, founded in 644 BC by the Syracusans at a strategic position for the control of central Sicily. It was also intended as a military forward-position on the Via Selinuntina road that connected Syracuse to Akragas (modern-day Agrigento) - also on that road were Gela and Akrillai to Casmene"s west and Akrai to its east. Destroyed b ...
Founded: 644 BCE | Location: Buscemi, Italy

Colonne di San Basilio

The Colonne di San Basilio (Columns of St Basil) are an ancient Greek structure, which take their name from the mountain of San Basilio where they are located, in the territory of Lentini. The summit of the mountain shows trances of ancient settlement from the prehistoric period, with clear traces of the postholes of a hut, probably belonging to the Casteluccio culture. A little way away is the imposing structure ...
Founded: 5th century BC | Location: Lentini, Italy

Sabucina

The archaeological park of Sabucina contains settlements ranging from the Bronze Age (20th-16th century BC) to the Roman period. The original village has securely pre-Greek origins, it was constructed by the Sicans, who took advantage of the dominant position of the mountain over the Salso river valley. The first phase of the Greek settlement came in the 7th century. The centre consisted of rectangular habitations, wi ...
Founded: 2300 BCE | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Mount Bonifato Archaeological site

The Archaeological site of Mount Bonifato is located in Alcamo. According to Licofrone of Alexandria, there was a village called Longuro on Mount Bonifato of Alcamo in ancient times. This settlement had been founded by a colony of Greeks who had escaped from Troy. The archeological site was probably inhabited from the 7th century BCE to the 12th century AD. From the 6th century BCE Mount Bonifato very probably had the st ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Alcamo, Italy

Hippana

Hippana was an ancient town of Sicily, mentioned by Polybius as being taken by assault by the Romans in the First Punic War, 260 BCE. Diodorus, in relating the events of the same campaign, mentions the capture of a town called 'Sittana', for which we should in all probability read 'Hippana'. It sat astride the main road from Panormus (modern Palermo) to Agrigentum (modern Agrigento) upon Monte dei Cava ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Prizzi, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.