Next to the excavated part of the ancient city of “Apollonia”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/albania/day_five/five_three/index.html is the walled Orthodox “Monastery Church of St Mary”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/albania/day_five/five_four/index.html which dates from the C13th and was restored in the 19th when the bell tower was built.
It is surrounded by a tall stone wall which provided protection in times of trouble. Buildings along the walls include the refectory which has the remains of C15th frescoes on the walls.
In the centre is the lovely small stone and brick church with a terracotta roof and dome. Near it is the bell tower which was built later.
Across the front of the church is a portico with beautifully carved capitals. This has the remains of a C13th fresco in the porch and a lovely icon.
Inside it is a very simple church with whitewashed walls and and a painted iconostasis dating from 1927. The original one was burnt in World War One. There is the remains of another C13/14th fresco high on the nave wall and the dome also has the remains of a C15th fresco.
The “Archaeology Museum”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/albania/day_five/five_five/index.html is in a series of first floor rooms along the monastery walls. This has a wonderful display of artefacts found from Apollonia and surrounding area dating from the C7th BC to the late Roman period when the site was abandoned. The pottery is particularly impressive and this is one of the few museums in Albania that allow photography.