Heraklea Linkestis - History and Facts | History Hit

Heraklea Linkestis

Bitola, Pelagonia Region, Macedonia

Heraklea Linkestis is an archaeological site in Bitola in Macedonia which was once an ancient Roman settlement.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Heraklea Linkestis

Heraklea Linkestis, also known as just Heraklea, is believed to have been founded by King Philip II of Macedon in around the fourth century BC, before being conquered by the Romans in approximately the second century BC.

Located along the important trade route of Via Egnatia, Heraklea Linkestis thrived as a commercial hub. Well-preserved remains of this once thriving settlement can now be seen at the site, including a theatre and baths as well as a Jewish temple and a church. One of the most celebrated aspects of Heraklea Linkestis is its series of vivid mosaics.

Heraklea Linkestis history

Heraklea Lynkestis was an urban settlement from ancient Macedonian times to the Middle Ages. It was founded in the middle of the 4th century BC by King Philip II of Macedon, as an important strategic point.

In the middle of the 2nd century BC the Romans conquered Macedonia, destroying its political power, making it a province, disintegrated it into four districts. Heraclea which belonged to the fourth district, prospered a lot during this time, mainly due to Via Egnatia road, on which this town was an important station.

During this period, Heracles became a strong economic and political centre, with its permanent Roman representative and its own Roman army. All this reflected on the appearance of the city so that Roman architecture was largely represented, although traditional influences and historical benefits still gave the city its whiteness. In 473, during the invasion of the south, the Goths under Theodimer also conquered Heracles.

A few years late in 479 the same Goths, this time led by Theodoric, the son of the late Theodimer, arrived again in Heracles and the city was burned. During the 6th century the city was attacked again and by the end of the 6th century the city was abandoned.

During the study and research of the site, the remains of the former town were discovered, and its appearance was reconstructed. Key points of interest are the statue of Titus Flavil Orestes, the Thermae of Heracles, the ancient theatre and the sacral buildings with floor mosaics.

Heraklea Linkestis today

Only a small part of the old town has been uncovered and excavated. Historical records show that there are still a number of houses and tombs of the rich and famous at the time to be found. Several important relics and buildings have already been uncovered including the amphitheatre, baths, basilicas and some impressive mosaics, only some of which are on show in the summer.

There is a small museum, a cafe, and a souvenir shop with books on the site in English available for sale. Most of the more important statues are on display in the town museum or in the National Museum in Skopje.

Getting to Heraklea Linkestis

Heraclea Lynkestis is located on the southern outskirts of the town of Bitola, at the foot of Mount Baba. The site lies about 2.5km south of the town centre, a 30 minute walk depending on where you start. The city’s main bus and train stations are no more than a 15 minute walk from Heraclea Lyncestis

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Macedonian Historic Sites

Known as the Republic of Macedonia until 2019, North Macedonia's ancient history and multifaceted culture is home to a number of interesting historic sites.