Orraon: Ancient Greece’s Best Preserved Settlement

Photo Credit: © diffendale

There are only a few ancient Greek building preserved and in most cases only public buildings – temples, auditoriums, stadiums, oracles, markets, cemeteries – are found in perfect condition. Private homes are usually not well preserved and, in most occasions, archaeologists can only locate their foundation.

In Greece, the best preserved ancient houses from the Classical through the Hellenistic period can be found in the ancient city of Orraon, in Epirus. There are four well-preserved buildings of the late Classical period, three private houses and a public structure.

Orraon was founded at the end of the 4th century BC, when Alketas was the king of the Molossoi or in the second quarter of the same century. The settlement was built on a strategic position and it consisted of 100 houses, all built with local limestone, the same way as the city’s double stone wall.

Orraon was destroyed by the Romans in 167 BC, but was subsequently rebuilt and finally was abandoned by its inhabitants, who were forced out to settle down in Nicopolis, after 31 BC.