A team of Stefano Boeri Architetti and Son Architects has won a competition run by Albania’s Ministry of Culture and the Albanian–American Development Foundation to create an archaeological park and preserve Roman ruins in Durrës, Albania’s second city.
The scope of work includes the creation of an archaeological park in the centre of the city, the design of urban pathways and work on a Roman amphitheatre and baths, and a Byzantine forum.
The urban pathways will link the parts of the city’s heritage that have been fragmented by modern development, and will connect them with the Durrës’ waterfront, port and city centre.
The 2,530 sq m forum and the 700 sq m baths are closed and hidden from public view at present. The former contains the remains of a round portico with a podium at the centre partially below street level. The latter contains an excavated caldarium and pool, with a tepidarium and frigidarium still to be investigated.
The elliptical amphitheatre is open, and is a large part of Durrës’ iconography. Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, it attracted 20,000 visitors a year.
Elva Margariti, Albania’s minister of culture, said in a press notice: “The Durrës Amphitheatre is not just a cultural monument, but a representation of the symbolism of city of Durres, an evidence of the past glory of this ancient city, which must be returned to the attention of every visitor of Durrës.
“The centuries have cast a shadow but have not extinguished the light of the immense cultural wealth of Durrës, hence the project for the conservation and revitalisation of the amphitheatre is necessary to restore some of the ‘lost’ glory.”