Greek settlers founded a colony on the site of Butrint sometime between the 10th and 8th Centuries BC. According to mythology, the city was settled by refugees from the Trojan War, including Helenus, one of King Priam's surviving sons.
The city was built on top of a hill overlooking the Straits of Corfu and became a major strategic location. An acropolis was constructed during the 7th Century BC, and, by the 4th Century, the city had an amphitheater, an agora, and a temple dedicated to Asclepius.
Known to the Romans as Buthrotum, the city became a protectorate of the Roman Republic. As Rome's influence grew, Butrint was incorporated into the province of Macedonia. Under Emperor Augustus, Butrint became a colony for veteran legionaries.
During Augustus' rule, Butrint doubled in size. The city gained an aqueduct, a forum, bathhouses, new residential buildings, and a nymphaeum. These were all built around the existing Greek structures, creating one of the most important Graeco-Roman cities in Eastern Europe.
Butrint was struck by an earthquake during the 3rd Century AD, and this began a period of gradual decline. However, the city remained under the control of the Byzantine Empire until the 1200s. In 1992, Butrint was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and became part of Albania's first National Park in 2000.