Hadrianopolis

Sofratikë, Gjirokastër Albania
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The roman city of Adrianopolis stands on the site of a previous settlement of late classical and Hellenistic period. This was perhaps a service center within the territory of the valley of the river Drin characterized from the late 5th century BC, from scattered settlements and no significant urban centres, among which were identifies some fortified villages. The oldest structures found belong to the early imperial age: a small temple in opera quadrata and a circular structure later obliterated by the theatre. In the age of Adrian, (117-138AD) the settlement situated along the road connecting Apollonia to Nikopolis, assumed the status of the city with the name of Hadrianopolis, becoming the capital and administrative centre of reference for the roman community of the valley of the river Drin and reached its greatest expansion and monumentalization. Organized on basis of a regular urban plan, the town occupies a rectangular area of 400 m x 300-350 m with streets crossing each other at right angles. In this period Adrianopolis provided itself with the main public buildings including the theatre and baths.
The theatre located above a large artificial embankment had a cavea of 58 metres in diameter and was constructed in opus caementicium. During the 4th century AD it was restored and organized to host venationes (hints of wild animals) and perhaps, gladiator fights. The baths structures that are visible today in the 3th century AD replaced, reducing its size the previous Adrianic complex. A necropolis has been found to extend over a significant area beyond the urban limits. After a period of crisis, which lasted from the beginning of 4th and until the end of 5th century AD, the city center had a temporary revival during the reign of Justinian 527-565 AD, when it took the name of Justinianopolis. During this period a small church was built inside the theatre, houses and shops occupied the area of the baths and the ancient small temple was demolished and embedded in a complex of buildings, perhaps with a residential function. As early as 7th century AD, the city can be said to be abandoned but the name of Drynopolis and its bishopric continued to be attested through the Byzantine and medieval periods.

Map of Hadrianopolis