Foinike has played a strategic role from the administrative and political point of view in the region of Epirus, thanks to its geographical position and economic development. Initially as the center of Kaonia and then as the capital of Epirus Koinon (between 230-168 BC), a federal state created by the union of the Epirus territories and some of the most important regions as: Chaonians, Thesprotia and Molossians. Among the many writings of the ancient authors, that testify the richness and the great values of this city, is Polybius, who in his writings called Foinike as the city with the strongest fortification walls throughout Epirus. This is evident as well by the archaeological discoveries that have highlighted the fortification system and the monuments that represent all the historical phases of the city, beginning from the Hellenistic period up to the medieval period. While another source that shows the great importance that Foinike had at the end of the century III BC, is documented by the Roman author Titus Livius of the so called “Foinike Peace”, that ended the first war between the Romans and the Macedonians.
In the III century BC , Foinike reaches the maximum of the political, administrative, and architectural development .From the political and administrative aspect in the Roman period the role of Foinike was weakened, but in the the city were conducted a series of construction works which included the reconstruction of the buildings with social character as the theater, the building of a public facility in the central part of the city (it is still unclear the overall size and scope) and of water tanks. Even during late antiquity and the Middle Age, life in Foinike continues to be intense. One of the most important monuments of this period is the early Christian basilica with three naves and an atrium at the front (c. V-VI AC).
The theatre is the most identifying monument of the ancient city of Phoinike as not only reflects two main stages of this city, the Hellenistic and the Roman period, but also by having very large dimensions (the scenae frons measure over 30 m of length), attests to the importance of this great political capital.
The orchestra occupies a large artificial terrace in the western slope of the hill. The cavea is geared totally in the natural terrain that forms a semi-circular beam, ideal for building the seats. The theatre was used for performances and probably for political reunions of the Epirote federation (Koinon).
Based on architectural structures and archaeological material, consisting of black-glazed pottery and artwork that decorated the stage, the theater dates back to the middle of the 3thcentury BC and it had a second period in the 2nd century BC. The theater had a reconstruction in the Roman period (3th century AD) and it seems clear in scenic complex.
The monument was first excavated in 2000 by the Albanian-Italian mission led by Shpresa Gjongecaj (Archaeological Institute of Tirana) and Sandro De Maria (Bologna University).