Touring Justiniana Prima Empress’ Town

David’s Been Here continues its tour of ancient sites in Serbia at Justiniana Prima, or “Empress’ Town” in the town of Leskovac. Considered a great day trip option from the city of Nis, Leskovac is just a two-hour drive south.


Check out our travel guide to Nis

David gets together with the only English-speaking guide he could find (Nebojsa “Nebo”) to see the Byzantine ruins of Justiniana Prima located about 29 km west of Leskovac nestled among lush scenery. Justiniana Prima was an early Christian city founded by Emperor Justinian I. It served as the seat of the Archbishop from 535 to 615.

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The site contains what is left of an enormous basilica, the acropolis, lower town, and upper town. Walking around Justiniana Prima will reveal city walls, gates, churches, and large bath complex with hypocaust system (heated floors). Justiniana Prima served as the administrative and spiritual center of Illyricum, a Roman province that encompassed the central Balkan Peninsula.


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David shows us portions of unearthed mosaics and the remains of the public bath complex, which was heated by an innovative method known as the hypocaust system in which the heat from an oven was used to heat the floors from underneath, sort of like ancient sub-floor heating. Justiniana Prima is a beautiful site that badly needs to be maintained. While the Serbian government sorts that out, you will need a guide to show you around the different areas so you know what you’re looking at. Feel free to contact Mr. Nebojsa Dimitrizevic directly at

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Special thanks to Serbia TravelXShot, and!

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