Apollonia is located 12 kilometers from the city of Fier, near Pojano. The city of Apollonia was founded at the beginning of the seventh century BC.
The earliest traces are some Iron Age artifacts typical of Illyrian culture.
The archeaologists has found remnants of the defensive wall and temple dedicated to Artemis. Artemis has been the most worshiped goddess of the Apolonites
Apolononia was founded by the Hellenic colonist , coming from Corinth, in the lands of the Illyrian Taulants. The first record of their presence is documented about 620 BC. The city was named in honor of the god Apollo.
Role of Apolonia
Apolonia played an important role as a trading intermediary between the Illyrians and the Hellenes. Apolonia was estimated to have about 60,000 inhabitants and because of that in turns was a record for Antiquity. The town was lying near the river Aoos (Vjosa).
During the Hellenes Colonization were built magnificent monuments and temples in the Illyrian environment. These were used to protect them with high surrounding walls. These was typical of all ancient Albanian cities.
The importance of Apolonia
This city has had the most developed forms of housing for the time.
In Apolonia there are traces of flooring with mosaics and this makes a difference from other cities where the floor was added with marble, stone, or baked clay.
Apolonia retained its greatness even in the Roman period. We can mention that the Apoloniate School of Fine Arts was renowned throughout the ancient world. Julius Caesar’s grandson, Octavian Augusti studied oratory in Apolonia. According to Roman chronicles, after the assassination of Julius Caesar, Octavian departed from Apolonia by ship. When Octavian became emperor, he maintained gratitude for the city of Apolonia. He expressed this by exempting Apolonia from all taxes.
The city carried out all its commercial activity by sea. The city loses sea links after an earthquake in 3rd century. After this city gradually lost its economic importance by becoming a mere religious center.
The first excavations in Apollonia
The first excavations in Apollonia date back to 1916 by the Austrians. But further the works on Apollonia was done by the French mission, leded by the aerologologist Leon Rei.
During 1924-1938 , there were cunducted 15 campaigns . He has pased all time in Apolonia thse years. For this reason the building where Leon Rei stayed in Apollonia is called the “French House”
With the objects discovered at Apollonia on October 8, 1936, it has been opened in Vlora, the Aero-archaeological Museum bearing the name “ZOGU I”.
Leon Rei has had two Albanian associates. In relation to the works done in Apolonia, we can mention the special role of Hasan Ceka. He is also known as the father of the Albanian archaeology. In Apollonia he worked for 40 years completing excavations undertaken by Leon Rei