Following Decision No. 1040 on 27.07.1950, the site of Heraclea Lyncestis is promoted into a monument of culture of the 1st category, of extraordinary and universal significance.
The first information concerning excavation at Heraclea comes from the XIX c. At that time Bitola was a centre of European Turkey and, through the diplomatic agencies in Bitola, the Sultan issued permits for excavations, and the right to buy, or simply take the findings to their own country.
Such investigations were repeated during the 40s of the XX c. when the probe excavations were undertaken headed by Antun Zegura, a professor of Latin in the Bitola gymnasium, and the professor Mihajlo Petrusevski.
From then till 1975, the investigations in Heraclea were carried out by the expert teams of the Prince Pavle Museum from Belgrade, while later the excavations were managed by the Yugoslavian Institute for the preservation of monuments of culture Belgrade, in cooperation with the already established Heraclea Board – Bitola.
Since 1975, an independent expert team from the Institute for the preservation of monuments of culture – Bitola has led the further systematic investigations. The Antique site of Heraclea Lyncestis covers an area of 4 hectares, of which 1300 m2 are covered with mosaics.
Investigated and presented facilities:
- A portico of a courtroom, Roman times (II c. A.D.)
- Thermal bath, Roman times (II c. A.D.)
- Theatre, Roman times(II c.A.D. )
- Episcopal Residence, Early-Christian period (IV – VI c.)
- Small Basilica, Early-Christian period (IV – VI c.)
- Great Basilica, Early-Christian period (IV – VI c.)
- City fountain, Justinian time (562)
The care, preservation, presentation, systematic archaeological investigation, permanent protection, conservation of architecture, revitalization of the Roman theatre, revival of the nights of Heraclea, the wealth of advertising materials, the annual visits of over 50 000 visitors, make Heraclea a ‘museum under the open sky’.
The abundant archaeological heritage of this site, collected through earlier investigation is presented in the archaeology exhibition in the museum as well as the archaeology exhibition on the very site of Heraclea.
Covering an area of 50 m2, there are exhibitions of items originating from I VI c. AD. Exhibits include items made of ceramics, metal and glass.
The most common are the coins, jewelry, items for everyday use, and bronze items. The central part of this museum exhibition is given to the model of the Roman theatre, which gives a 3D picture of the entire investigation of the theatre up to its conservation and reconstruction.
The model presents a documentation of the work and the love toward the Roman theatre of one archaeologist Dr. Tome Janakievski in his efforts since the start of excavation up to the conservation and revitalization of the facility.