The building construction of the New Nicopolis Museum was accomplished in 2006. The exhibition work was completed in the summer of 2009, within the framework of the project titled “New Nicopolis Museum: Equipment and Exhibition” funded from the Regional Operational Programme “Epirus” of the 3rd Community Support Framework.
The Museum is dedicated exclusively to the city which was founded in commemoration of the victory of Octavian Augustus at the naval battle of Actium in 31 BC. Based on this, the central theme of the permanent exhibition can be summarized in the phrase: One Battle, One City, One Empire. Octavian’s victory at Actium did not only lead to the founding of Nicopolis; it also had great influence on the shape of the Roman Empire and the course of history.
The Museum displays the crucial position of Nicopolis in the context of the Roman and Byzantine Empire as well as its role between two capitals, Rome and Constantinople. Nicopolis is presented, on the one hand, as the magnificent Roman Nicopolis, the symbol-city of a glorious victory, founded to display the power of the first Roman Emperor, Octavian; a Roman city inhabited by Greeks which soon developed into the imposing center within the framework of the Pax Romana. It is also presented as the Early Christian city, which -after the collapse of the western frontiers, the relocation of the emperor’s capital from the West to the East, and the establishment of Christianity- reassembled and regained its majesty, forming a crucial religious and administrative center, to be finally deserted in the 10th-11th century AD.
The visitors follow a corridor leading to the exhibition halls, where a chronicle leads them through a history of main events which preceded the founding of Nicopolis. In the first hall -entitled The birth and course of the city– the naval battle and the city’s evolution until its gradual decline and desertion are presented consecutively. The second hall –entitled Life in the City- exhibits features of the city which contributed to its evolution as a powerful economical and commercial centre, as well as, aspects of the private life of the inhabitants. Three consecutive corridors display images, maps and various information on the relation of Nicopolis to other large centers of the Roman world, the course of the city after its desertion and destruction until its ruins was discovered by modern travellers, and finally, the excavation research, the extended conservation and substantial enhancement works from the early 20th century until this day.