The Baptistery and early christian Butrint
By the 5th century AD Christianity was flourishing at Butrint and the city had its own bishop. The Baptistery and the Great Basilica were constructed in the early 6th century. The Baptistery was discovered in 1928 by the Italian Archaeological mission. It is the second largest baptistery in the Eastern Roman Empire, the largest being that of Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.
Every aspect of the architecture and decoration of the Baptistery is symbolic of the baptismal rite, with the fountain on the far side of the Baptistery representing the fountain of eternal life. The intricate brightly coloured mosaic has representations of land (animals), air (birds), and water (fish), symbolizing aspects of Christian salvation.
The attention of the visitor crossing the threshold of the main entrance is held by two large peacocks in a vine growing from a great vase. The peacocks symbolise paradise and immortality, and the vase and grapes, the Eucharist and the blood of Christ.
- The Baptistery at Butrint
- Aerial view of the Baptistery
- The mosaic pavement of the Baptistery