Basilica of Saint Michael

Tirana, Albania

Basilica of Saint Michael

The Basilica of Saint Michael (Albanian: Bazilika e Shën Mëhillit) is a former basilica dedicated to Saint Michael, located in Arapaj, Durrës. Its ruins have been declared a Cultural Monument of Albania. The Basilica of Saint Michael is an early Palaeo-Christian church which is believed to date to the 5th or 6th century. A mosaic unearthed in the basilica also demonstrates how ingrained Christian culture later was with the early Byzantine Empire.

The monogrammed pavement found in the atrium dates back to the reign of the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I (491–518), based on which the construction of the basilica dates back to the 5th – 6th centuries. The basilica is believed to have been dedicated to Archangel Michael and was in use until the 11th century, when, according to research, the building was set on fire by the Norman army led by Robert Guiscard, who occupied Dürrakhion in 1081. In the area of the destroyed basilica, members of the bodyguard of the Byzantine emperor Alexius I who had fallen in battle were buried.

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