For decades the ancient city of Butrint lay visible, but unvisitable on the southernmost coast of Albania. Even Albanians had to get an internal visa to reach the site, on a lakeside peninsula close to the Greek border.
Now archaeologists have plumbed its waterlogged depths and recovered evidence from when Bouthroton was founded more than 2,700 years ago, as a Greek colony of the Corinthians. “Butrint owes a priceless debt to Virgil, who in the Aeneid had his exiled hero from Troy, Aeneas, pause here on the way to found Rome. At a stroke, Butrint was on the world map,” Richard Hodges, who has overseen the transformation of Albania’s first Unesco World Heritage site, said.