The city that rose from love and was destroyed by hatred!

How many cities can you name, which are built in the name of love?

Antigonea, the city that rose from love and was destroyed by hatred.

Antigonea was founded around 295 BC by King Pyrrhus (319-272 BC), king of the Molossians. The Molossians were one of the three tribes of Epirus, the ancient region comprising modern-day Albania and northern Greece.

The city was named after his wife Antigone, the stepdaughter of King Ptolemy of Egypt, a former general of Alexander the Great.

Antigonea was situated atop the hill of Jerma in the center of the Drinos Valley. It was also located along the highly important Via Egnatia road which stretched all across the Balkans into Thrace.

Antigonea, therefore, was directly connected to cities such as Dyrrachium (Durrës), Heraclea Lyncestis (Bitola, North Macedonia) and Thessaloniki.

While a settlement had existed here since the Hellenistic era, a new city was founded at this spot by Emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138 AD) who named it after himself. It’s just one of several cities throughout the former Roman Empire to bear the same name, Hadrianopolis, located about 13 km southeast of Gjirokastër.

Gjirokastër is undoubtedly one of Albania’s most endearing historical towns. But not many visitors realize that there were once large cities on the valley floor that thrived throughout the Hellenistic and Roman eras. While little of Antigonea or Hadrianopolis remain, those who put forth the effort will be rewarded with both stunning scenery and a true off-the-beaten-path experience.

Antigonea and Hadrianopolis are part of Illyricum Trail, a journey through the beginnings of the time 👉

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