Royal Tombs of Selca e Poshtme

Pogradec, Albania

The Illyrian Tombs of Selca e Poshtme are located near the town of Pogradec in Albania. On the right bank of the river Shkumbin lie the remains of the ancient city of Pelion and the accompanying necropolis. The Roman Via Egnatia led past it towards Thessaloniki. Though there are traces of human activity in Neolithic times, the settlement proper dates to the Iron Age through to the Illyrian urban period (5th to 2nd centuries BC), and reached its height under settlement by the Illyrian tribe of Enchele in the later Iron Age and was also occupied in the Roman period as traces of a municipal building show. From the 4th to 1st centuries BC the city was the royal residence of Illyrian kings and therefore, also probably an important political and economic centre.

According to excavations, the settlement has five phases of occupation. Selcë I to III are divided into late Neolithic, early Bronze Ageand Late Bronze Age, all represented by different ceramic forms. The settlement was continuously inhabited from the Bronze Age into the Iron Age. During the 6th to 5th centuries BC the settlement developed as a proto-urban center on the road that ran along the river Shkumbin connecting the coast of Albania to Macedonia. From the Iron Age there is a permanent settlement at the site.

Around 570 BC/550 BC the phase of Selcë IV began, evidenced by traces of burnt dwellings, pottery, including imports from Corinth in the lower horizon, and some Ionian wares. In the upper horizon, local, red-brown painted pottery, wheel made pottery with two handles and Ionic and Attic products were found. The local potters copied Greek models and were also influenced by their style. During the 4th century the acropolis was fortified by an encircling wall of well-cut stone.

In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC Selca was an important trading centre and was the administrative centre of the Illyrian region of the Dassaretae. Terraces were created in order to develop the settlement across the hilly terrain. In the 3rd century monumental tombs were cut into the rock around the acropolis, some with Ionic columns. One of these tombs was reused at the end of the 2nd century and a wide array of finds were discovered therein, including weapons, bronze vessels, ceramics and gold jewellery. The construction of the Via Egnatia, which bypassed the city, led to its decline.

During the 4th century AD Selca, as a military and administrative centre, was re-fortified with stone walls bound with mortar. Houses were constructed from reused Roman and Illyrian masonry. On the basis of coin finds two elements phases of construction can be determined. The first from the time of Valentinian I (364-375), the second from the time of Justinian I (518 - 565) to the years 547/548. The city was of economic and political importance before being conquered by the Slavs who destroyed the last remains of the Illyrian city.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 6th century BCE
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in Albania

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.