Archaeological site Nesactium (Vizače)

The remnants of a prehistoric, Roman and Late Roman town remained preserved for centuries on the southeastern slopes of the Istrian Peninsula, above the bay of Budava, on a hillock named Vizače. The first news regarding Nesactium, the residence of the king of the Histri, stem from Roman written sources (Titus Livius, XLI, II, 4-16), and the material confirmation that Vizače represents the remnants of a town with a glorious past came at the beginning of the 20th century with the discovery of a votive altar dedicated to emperor Gordianus (3rd century) on which the Res Publica Nesactiensium is mentioned. At present this locality represents an archaeological park featuring conserved architectonic remains from the Roman and Late Roman periods. The site is surrounded by several belts of prehistoric defensive walls and by Roman walls. Located at the entrance to the town, between Roman and prehistoric gates, was a rich prehistoric necropolis. The discovered urns and other objects that were placed into graves as offerings point to several layers of habitation and interment in the period from the 11th century BC until the Roman conquest. Local Histrian goods and luxurious imported items connect Nesactium and Histrian culture, whose center the former represented, with cultures from almost the entire area of the Mediterranean and Central Europe. The Romans had demolished the capital of the Histri after their siege in 177 BC, building a new town on the same location, which featured Roman-style town planning. A forum with three temples and a portico, thermae and other structures of public and private character were erected on the central plateau. Located on the slopes are remnants of luxurious private houses, while a rich necropolis extended itself alongside the road that led to town from Pula. Objects having a high artistic value speak volumes about the cultural range of the town during the Roman period. With the gradual weakening of the Roman state came the inevitable changes: from a Roman municipality the town became a Late Roman fortified settlement. The luxurious thermal baths were transformed into residential and farm structures, while the southern section of the central plateau was rearranged into two parallel religious structures during the 5th century. The northern and the somewhat larger southern basilica represent a significant contribution to the knowledge of Old Christian archaeology. The town survived the fall of the Roman Empire and the awakening of Christianity but it was not able to resist the Barbarian assaults at the beginning of the 7th century.