© Ministry of Culture and Sports
Aerial view of the archeological site
Gitana, second -in chronological order- capital of ancient Thesprotia and seat of the koinon of the Thesprotians, are related with the ruins of the fortified settlement on the SW edge of the elongate hill of Vrysella, north of the river Kalamas basin, at its cofluence with its tributary, Kalpakiotikos. From this priviliged location, it controlled the exit of the river to the sea. In 150 years since its foundation until its conquest from the Romans in 167 BC, the city consisted one of the most important political, administrative and financial centers in the ionian region. The epigraphic evidence and the philological sources, in combination with the findings of recent research, allow the identification of this area with ancient Gitana. The earlier information for the existence of Gitana as the seat of the Koinon of the Thesprotians, is testified by the content of a liberating resolution which was founded in the place of Agora and it is dated from 350 until 300 BC, so long as it verified from the ancient written tradition (Livius, Polybius). The last written testimony for the city (Livius) is dated from the autumn of 172 BC, the same year that the Romans arrived at Epirus in order to prepare and organise the war operations in view of the impending outbreak of the III Macedonian war. Later, during the excavation of the city's Prytaneion - archival building, on the SW edge of the settlement - two clay sealings, out of a total of about 3,000 discovered in the area, bear the in the inscription "ΓΙΤΑΝΑ". The ancient settlement is surrounded by three sides from the Kalamas River. On the northeast, the fortification includes the SW edge of the limestone volume of Vrysela, where the citadel of Gitana, dominates in the interior of the deltaic plain. The location of the area, priviliged in terms of the protection it offers and its proximity to natural resources, contributed to its early inhabitance, already during the prehistoric times, as suggested by the discovery of flint blades and prehistoric pottery in the greater area. In ancient times, the river was navigable. Moreover, in addition to the commercial activities offered by the communication with the sea, the city controlled the largest Thesprotian plain, while in its territory belonged also part of the plain of Kestrini, which was famous for its oxes. Also, the inhabitants were able to approach the most important settlements Lygia and Mastilitsa. At the same time there was a direct communication with the other big cities along the river (ancient Fanoti, settlement in Raveni, Elina etc). The foundation of the ancient city is dated in the mid 4th century BC. This year coincided with the annexation of south Kestrini, region where constructed the fortified settlement. In the Hellenistic period the habitation continues as it's proved by the excavated buildings inside the settlement. On the contrary there are no architectural remains which could be dated this time of period after the conquest from the Romans.
Lambrou Vasiliki, Archaeologist
Lazou Theodora, Historian-Archaeologist
335/330 B.C. - 167 B.C.