Today I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts, the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent, and I learned about the Roman ruins in Butrint National Park in Albania. They sound extraordinarily preserved, and are still being excavated:
It is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country with an archaeological sequence that runs from the Bronze Age to the 19th century. A number of major monuments are still extant, the city walls, late-antique baptistery, Great basilica, theatre and Venetian castles. In addition to the archaeological remains the site is robed in natural woodland with a complex ecosystem that depends on the nearby presence of the feshwater Lake Butrint and Vivari Channel which drains the Lake into the Ionian Sea.
Here are a bunch more Flickr photos that look pretty great.
Of course, pretty much every time I hear the word ‘Albania’, I must think of Willie Nelson trying to find a rhyme for it in the brilliant (and freakishly prescient) Wag the Dog.
Albania is more or less randomly selected as an antagonist for the US, to deflect attention from a domestic problem concerning the President and a girl scout:
Winifred Ames: Why Albania?
Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean: Why not?
Winifred Ames: What have they done to us?
Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean: What have they done FOR us? What do you know about them?
Winifred Ames: Nothing.
Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean: See? They keep to themselves. Shifty. Untrustable.
I’d forgotten that Kirsten Dunst had a little role in that film (in an incredibly funny scene). Here’s a good clip from the YouTubeSphere.