Heraclea Lyncestis with Kids
As a bonafide history buff I was keen to take in as much Macedonian history as I could on our month long trip of the country. Alexander the Great, the Roman times….even WWII. I wanted to walk in the shoes of ancient warriors and hopefully inspire the kids to want to learn more about my favourite subject along the way. Heraclea Lyncestis just outside Bitola was the kids very first introduction to the ancient world and they were mesmerised.
Often we are given rotten advice about travelling with kids. We were warned that Heraclea Lyncestis with kids was a bad idea as surely they wouldn’t be interested in a few block of marble. Of course I nodded and smiled, but ignored the advice and took the kids. Of course they had an amazing time and came away with an expanded vocabulary ( I had no idea that they didn’t know what a mosaic was before hand) and a developing concept of the ancient world.
We caught a taxi out from Bitola to Heraclea Lyncestis as the mid summer heat made walking the few kilometres out to the site quite unbearable. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity just because the mercury had risen over 40 degrees celsius!. I was surprised to find an empty carpark but super glad that the ticket office was open. Entry was 100 denar for an adult and 50 denar for kids. On the back of the ticket was a map of the site.
Heraclea Lyncestis was founded in the middle of the 4th century BCE by Phillip II who named in in honor of Heracles. It was a thriving town, strategically positioned on Macedon’s border with Epirus and Paeonia. Some 200 yeas later the Romans conquered Macedon. Heraclea Lyncestis continued to prosper under Roman rule which saw the addition of baths, a portico, a theatre and town walls.
By the 4th to 6th century AD, Heraclea Lyncestis had become a very important Episcopal seat for the church. This saw further advancements to the city with the addition of a small and a great basilica, a residence for the bishop, a funerary basilica and a necropolis.
By why is it now in ruins? Unfortunately the invasion of the Slavs coupled with an earthquake in 6th century AD saw Heraclea Lyncestis abandoned. Over time, the vegetation growth covered the ruins which were only rediscovered during the outbreak of World War II. It’s now a site that you can visit!
If you’re thinking of visiting you are in for a treat. When we took the taxi out from Bitola I was expecting a plethora of visitors, but we were alone for all of our exploration time other than the staff member in the ticket booth. We were able to explore every part and other than the large mosaic which has a chain around it, were able to touch the walls and get up and close with everything. You will note sand and small pebbles covering the ground in some places – it’s likely that there are mosaics underneath which need protection! The rest are okay and robust to be seen.
Heraclea Lyncestis with Kids
Hours: Open daily. April – October: 09.00 – 18.00, October – March: 09.00 – 16.00 ч
Website: Head to Bitola Tourism
Location: Macedonia St bb, Skopje 1000, Macedonia (FYROM)