Iustiniana Prima archaeological site


Roman city dating from the VI century A.D.

Administrative centre of the province of Illyricum

In southern Serbia there is a Roman city dating from the VI century A.D. Iustiniana Prima (Empress’s City) – which Emperor Iustinian built in his homeland as the administrative and ecclesiastical centre of the province of Illyricum. From the viewpoint of urbanism, Iustiniana Prima is a city with a clear plan, patterned after the metropolises of the late-ancient world.

The remains of the acropolis, a spacious circular square, streets with portcullises (heavy iron gates), an Episcopal (Bishop’s) church and multi-storey houses act as a testimony of the imperial splendour and the Christian spirit of the city. Iustiniana Prima’s power was short lived. The city was levelled to the ground by the Slovenes and the Avars as early as in 631 A.D. The digging out brought to surface a large number of objects.

The ruins of the fortifications with porticos, basilicas, public and private edifices are an excellent example of how the city looked in the past and reflect the achievements of the Greco-Roman civilization.