The Site

Butrint site

Butrint National Park

Located 20 kilometers from the modern city of Sarandë in southern Albania, Butrint National Park is an unspoilt and spectacular landscape spanning 8,622 hectares. With a varied terrain of hills, lakes, wetlands, salt marshes, open plains, reed beds, and coastal islands, the park is home to over 1,200 animal and plant species, as well as the archaeological site of Butrint.

The site, owned by the State of Albania, is triply inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a National Park, and a Ramsar site.

In 2020, the Albanian Government approved the Butrint National Park Integrated Management Plan (20202030), which aims to safeguard the site and promote sustainable community-based and environmentally sensitive tourism. The Plan aims to balance the provision of public access with the preservation of both archaeological and natural resources, and so help the site better manage rising visitor numbers.

Visitor Center Site

Located some 1.5 kilometers to the west of the entrance to the ancient city, the visitor center will occupy a commanding site, on or close to an existing car park, within the 200-meter zone identified on the map below. The site has panoramic views overlooking the Vivari Channel, from the open Ionian Sea in the west to the ancient city of Butrint to the east. The exact location of the center is not determined and forms part of the design challenge of the competition. 

To ensure that the visitor center is well connected — both to the wider National Park and the ancient city — a landscape visioning masterplan covering the area marked in yellow on the map below — also forms part of the scope of the project.

For further details, please read the Search Statement.

  • Landscape Visioning Masterplan
  • Visitor Center Location Zone

Butrint UNESCO World Heritage Site

Deeply embedded in both history and legend, Butrint is the most significant archaeological site in Albania, and the first to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status, in 1992.

The ancient city is a microcosm of Mediterranean history; occupied for at least 12,000 years, the site has been home to many civilizations including the Illyrian-Epirotes, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Angevins, Venetians and Ottomans.

Key archaeological highlights include: an ancient Epirot Theater; a Roman Forum; ruins of an early Byzantine Baptistery inlaid with an early sixth century mosaic floor; and the well-preserved ruins of a paleo-Christian Basilica that was rebuilt in the ninth century.

It is estimated that only around five per cent of the city has been studied, meaning that the potential for new discoveries is considerable.

Video shows general site context (no sound)