The Shirgj Church was built in 1290 by Helen of Anjou, queen consort of the Serbian Kingdom, wife of Serbian king Stefan Uroš I, and mother of kings Dragutin and Milutin. Apparently the monastery was constructed on top of an existing structure: according to apocryphal documents, the original monastery is mentioned as erected by Justinian, whereas in other sources its existence is mentioned as an abbey starting from 1100. The presence of a pillar of black granite, a material which originates from Syria and was often used in 6th-century basilicas in Albania, demonstrates that the construction of the original building may indeed lie in the 6th century.
A document dated 22 October 1330 mentions the monastery as the rendezvous point of the king of Rascia with ambassadors of Ragusa. In another document dated 1333, the monastery is mentioned as the customs' place of the kingdom of Rascia.
In the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja, it is alleged that several members of the Vojislavljević dynasty of Duklja were buried here, such as Mihailo I, Constantine Bodin, Dobroslav, Vladimir and Gradinja.
Marino Bizzi, the Archbishop of Antivari at the time, wrote in a 1611 report to the Vatican that heavy damages were inflicted to the church as a result of the Ottoman presence in Albania. In 1684, Pjetër Bogdani reported that the church's bell had been put underground. Daniele Farlati also mentioned the church in his Illyricum sacrum. In 1790 archbishop Frang Borci informed Coletti, Farlati's assistant, who was about to republish Illyricum sacrum, that the church was the most beautiful of Albania.
The French consul in Iskodra noted that the monastery's frescoes could still be seen in the church in 1905. At that time only three of the four perimeter walls were still standing. Ippen, then Austrian consul of Iskodra, observed that in the late 1800s and early 1900s the gravediggers of Shirgj would find old mosaics. At present, only a single wall remains and the mosaics can no longer be seen.References:
The two-tiered Roman amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times. Built in 90 AD, the amphitheatre was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators, and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, it draws large crowds for bullfighting as well as plays and concerts in summer.
The building measures 136 m in length and 109 m wide, and features 120 arches. It has an oval arena surrounded by terraces, arcades on two levels (60 in all), bleachers, a system of galleries, drainage system in many corridors of access and staircases for a quick exit from the crowd. It was obviously inspired by the Colosseum in Rome (in 72-80), being built slightly later (in 90).
With the fall of the Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers (the southern tower is not restored). The structure encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town, with its public square built in the centre of the arena and two chapels, one in the centre of the building, and another one at the base of the west tower.
This new residential role continued until the late 18th century, and in 1825 through the initiative of the writer Prosper Mérimée, the change to national historical monument began. In 1826, expropriation began of the houses built within the building, which ended by 1830 when the first event was organized in the arena - a race of the bulls to celebrate the taking of Algiers.
Arles Amphitheatre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with other Roman buildings of the city, as part of the Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments group.