Teurnia was a Roman city in western Carinthia. In late antiquity it was also a bishop's see, and towards the end of Roman times it was mentioned as the capital of the province of Noricum mediterraneum.
As early as 1100 BC, people had lived there on Holzerberg hill, which may well have also been the centre of the Celtic Taurisci nation. Before c. 50 AD the Roman town was built with a forum, a market basilica, a temple on the city's Capitol, Thermae or public baths, terraced housing on two terraces, and a temple dedicated to Grannus, the Celtic counterpart deity of Aesculap, god of medicine and healing, but in Teurnia invoked as Grannus Apollo. Usually older hill-top settlements were moved by the Romans to lower-lying areas with the one exception of the oppidum at Teurnia in the tribal region of the Ambidravi, where old names are said to have been retained and no renaming took place.
Teurnia was one of the largest places in all Noricum with, in its peak period, a population of 30,000. Towards the end of the Empire the population decreased; people left the housing terraces, and the slopes being no longer suitable for agriculture were used as cemeteries. At the same time walls went up surrounding the hilltop with material from the deserted houses.
By the 4th century, Teurnia was already a Christian town and it was a bishop's see until the city's decline and its end in 610.
Holzerberg hill was a well-known place of antique finds as early as the Middle Ages. Professional excavations began with the accidental discovery of the cemetery church in 1908. The mosaic of its donor, the praeses or governor Ursus, in the right side-chapel of the three-naved basilica is in near-perfect preservation. In twelve pictures the mosaic shows christological, mythological and biblical symbols as well as the names of one Ursus, the donor, and his spouse, Ursina.
In 1984, the Early-Christian bishop's church was discovered, which has now been roofed over and is open to visitors. The episcopal church was built at the beginning of the 5th century and a century later, after a destructive fire, was rebuilt in basilica style with three naves and three apses.
In the village centre of St. Peter-in-Holz there is a recent 'Römer-Museum' exhibiting numerous artefacts from the city area of Teurnia. Nearby are the preserved remains of a Roman town villa or villa urbana boasting a simple hypocaust in form of the letter Y. Next to the bishop's church the Hospitium, the bishop's guest house, was found, but for protection purposes it has been covered with soil again. More excavation work is going on. Information on the city's history and the excavation work is provided in display cases all over the area.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.