Durres is the second most populous city in the Republic of Albania. The city is the capital of the surrounding Durrës County, one of 12 constituent counties of the country. By air, it is 165 kilometres (103 miles) northwest of Sarandë, 31 kilometres (19 miles) west of Tirana, 83 kilometres (52 miles) south of Shkodër and 579 kilometres (360 miles) east of Rome. Located on the Adriatic Sea, it is the country’s most ancient and economic and historic center.The city was founded by ancient Greek colonists from Corinth and Corfu under the name of Epidamnos around the 7th century BC on the coast of the Illyrian Taulantii. Later known as Dyrrachium, it essentially developed to become significant as it became an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine Empire. The Via Egnatia, the continuation of the Via Appia, started in the city and led across the interior of the Balkan Peninsula to Constantinople in the east.In the Middle Ages, it was contested between Bulgarian, Venetian and Ottoman dominions.Following the Albanian Declaration of Independence, the city served as the capital of the Principality of Albania for a short period of time. Subsequently, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy and Nazi Germany in the interwar period. The city experienced a strong expansion in its demography and economic activity during Communism in Albania.Durrës is served by the Port of Durrës, one of the largest on the Adriatic Sea, which connects the city to Italy and other neighbouring countries. Its most considerable attraction is the Amphitheatre of Durrës that is included on the tentative list of Albania for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once having a capacity for 20,000 people, it is the largest amphitheatre in the Balkan Peninsula.