(Caričin Grad) Yugoslavia.
The remains of an important city of the Early
Christian period near the village of Caričin Grad, ca. 30
km SW of Leskovac in S Serbia.
The city occupies a long, high ridge in a fertile, hilly
district and was founded early in the reign of Justinian.
The city walls cover an area over 500 m N-S and ca. 215
m E-W. There are additional fortifications around the
inner acropolis near the NW limit of the city and another
E-W wall with a gate separates the N and lower S areas
of the community.
There is a circular forum near the N end of the city
and paved, colonnaded streets extend from it in four
directions; the one to the E leads directly to a large
gate through the city wall and the W street enters the
acropolis. On the acropolis is a large basilica of two
stories with a ground plan that includes a nave with two
side aisles and three apses at the E. There is a complex
of building N of the basilica and a large, quatrefoil baptistery with a cruciform piscina on the S.
There were at least five other churches in the ancient
city, all dating to the 6th c. Of special interest is a long
basilica in the S area which has a tripartite transept and
a colonnaded atrium. Mosaics on the floor of the narthex
and in the naos are well-preserved and depict in large
panels scenes of the Good Shepherd, hunters and savage
beasts, centaurs, and amazons. The excavators point to
analogies for the style and symbolism to mosaics in the
imperial palace in Constantinople and to mosaics in
Nikopolis. The architectural decoration of the basilica
suggests a date of 525-50.
An unusual martyrium is located in the NE quarter of
the city where most of the shops and industrial works
may be found. The martyrium is a three-aisled basilica
with an apse. The crypt, like the basilica above, has three
aisles, all vaulted, extending the whole length of the
church. Another smaller basilica with a nave separated
from the two side aisles by arcades is S of the acropolis.
Outside the central gate on the E is a large bath with a
hypocaust and an apodeuterium that is triconchial in
plan. Another church lies to the S which has apses on
the N and S as well as on the E.
The city was probably Justinia Prima which Justinian
founded near his birthplace of Tauresium. Justiniana
Prima, earlier thought to have been at Scupi (modern
Skopje), was the seat of the archibishop in Dardania and
was the principal city in the region during the 6th c.
It was destroyed in the late 6th or early 7th c., but
archaeological evidence shows that it was revived in the
9th and 10th c.
The principal excavations were conducted from the
1940s to the 1960s. Many of the architectural fragments
can be seen at the site; most of the smaller finds are in
the museum in Leskovac.
A. Grabar, “Les monuments de Tzaritchingrad,” CahArch
3 (1948) 49-63; N. Spremo-Petrović, “Bazilika sa kriptom u Caričinom Gradu,” Starinar
; D. Mano-Zissi, “Iskopavanje na Caričinu Gradu 1949-1952 godine,” ibid., 3-5 (1952-53) 127-68MPI
; id., “Terme kraj srednje u suvurviumu Caričina
Grada,” ibid., 20 (1969) 205-12PI
; A. Deroko, “Excavations at C-G in 1947,” ibid., 1 (1950) 119-42PI
; C. A.
Raleigh-Radford, “Justiniana Prima . . . ,” Antiquity
; D. Mano-Zissi, “Caričin Grad,” Velika
Arheološka Nalazišta u Srbiji