Ruins of Heraclea Lycentis near Bitola, North Macedonia

by | Aug 2, 2022 | Culture | 0 comments

Heraclea Lycentis is an ancient city founded in the 4th century BC by Phillip II of Macedon and later ruled by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. The Heraclea Lycentis ruins are just a few kilometers or a little over a mile away from Bitola, North Macedonia. I had a chance to visit this site in early August of 2022 and took several photos of Heraclea Lycentis. This ancient city’s name honors the legendary mythical hero Heracles. Lycentis or Lykentis is the name of an ancient kingdom that Phillip II conquered.

The Ancient Roman Emperor Hadrian was responsible for constructing a theater in the center of the settlement on a hill. The primary purpose of this theater was gladiatorial fighting until late into the 4th century AD, when a ban on gladiator fights occurred due to the growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire.

In the Byzantine period between the 4th and 6th century AD, Heraclea became an important center for early Christian bishops. An earthquake in 518 AD led to the decline of inhabitants. In the 7th AD, a Slavic tribe known as the Dragovites came down from the north and captured the city. Around this period, the city found itself empty and deserted.

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