According to historical sources, the settlement was founded at the end of the 6th century BC by Hecataeus. It occupies a hill on the edge of Lake Butrint, c. 20 km south of Saranda. Archaeological excavations have brought to light finds ranging from the early Iron Age until the Middle Ages. Butrint is both an archaeological park and a nature reserve. Sights worth visiting are the defences, the theatre, the circular baptistery, the great basilica, the archaeological museum and much more
The earliest defensive circuit encloses only the acropolis and belongs to the 7th/6th centuries BC. The establishment of a city was accompanied by the construction of a new city wall in Hellenistic ashlar masonry. The post-antique defences formed additions to the Hellenistic circuit and belong to three successive phases: (a) 2nd half of 9th century; (b) 11th/12th centuries and (c) the Venetian period (15th century)
The theatre is one of the best-preserved ancient theatres in Albania, with 19 tiers of seating and a capacity of 1,500 spectators. It was first built in the 2nd half of the 3rd century BC; the stage building belongs to the Roman period.
The baptistery with its total-immersion baptismal font set in a circular building decorated with columns and mosaics, is one of the finest of its kind. It is ascribed to the middle of the 6th century AD.
The Great Basilica
The Great Basilica stands next to an entrance through the defences guarded by two towers. It has three aisles and measures 20.15 × 18.33 m. It was built at the beginning of the 6th century AD, underwent subsequent rebuilding and was still functioning as a church until the 18th century.
The Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum is housed within the Venetian castle on the acropolis. The finds displayed here illustrate the history of occupation at Butrint and its surroundings from the earliest times until the Middle Ages. The museum is arranged chronologically and thematically and is extremely well laid out and labelled (in English and Albanian)