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Touring though ‘Diocletian’s Palace’ in Split: Once a Roman throne, today a neat Slavic Tourist destination

Little peace of heaven where you can see Roman culture in a Slavic country

Photo: Ballota / Wikimedia cc

Split is the largest city on the Croatian coast, and after Zagreb is the second largest city in Croatia. Millions and millions of tourists come to visit it every year, or they just stop by for days before continuing to go on the beautiful Croatian islands. Famous for its location, Split is situated at the middle of the Dalmatian coast, and for that reason (and not only) the Roman emperor Diocletian has lived there in the period between 293 and 305 in his palace.

Before him the city did not exist. He decided to build his palace where he can retire and spend his last days in peace, beautiful coast and incredible nature. The palace was the begging of everything that you can see today.

Diocletian

In the seventh century in the territory of the bay Castles (Kaštela) hordes of Avars and Slavs built the civility Salona which was never renewed and still today brings a lot of tourists to visit it. Incredible place that still has that ancient spirit and peace that you can feel while you are visiting it. The people who came from nearby island found the walls of the Diocletian’s Imperial Palace incredible place to build a safe city, and thanks to the imposing walls and defensive towers soon became the medieval City of Split. Step by step the city was getting bigger and bigger and soon it got out from the walls of the palace, and the people started to build the houses all around the palace.

Today, Split is a really huge city and Diocletian’s palace is a heart of it. It’s soul and bones. It’s breathtaking. Just by taking a walk around it you will see some incredible things like the classic ancient Peristyle, within the walls which in the Middle Ages unified the religious rituals and also the mausoleum of Diocletian that was transformed into a cathedral dedicated to the Madonna in the ninth century and onwards, is given a name of the St. Duje Church, the first bishop of Salona who died at the time of tax persecutions by Diocletian. In the early Middle Ages the city of Split was mostly under Byzantine rule. In the ninth century the city of Split becomes the party of the Croatian state under the rule of King Petar Kresimir IV.

Saint Duje Church

If you are interested to visit some interesting historical and artistic monuments of Split, here they are:

  • Diocletian’s Palace – that is shaped irregularly and in the total area reaches 30 000 m. It has been constructed according to the taste and concepts of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the palace has always been the center of the city and also a military camp.
  • On the west of the Peristil it is located the so-called “Temple of Jupiter”. Originally, it was an ancient classical temple characterized by a rectangular plan and at the entrance has the tallest sculpture and a portico formed by four tall columns. It still retains the cell with a barrel vault and the coffered ceiling of one of 11 Egyptian sphinxes. In Christian times the temple had been transformed into a baptistery, while its crypt, became a church dedicated to St. Thomas.
  • The ancient city and the Benedictine monastery, founded in 1096 and after transformed into a military hospital was later destroyed by the end of the century. The church of St. Benedict was built around the half of the century XI in the form of basilica and are preserved just the foundations.
  • On tthe east of the bell tower, opposite to the Golden Gate of the Palace of Diocletian, stands the monumental bronze statue of Nona (Grgur Ninski), sculpted in 1929. The statue is very famous for his feet that you have to touch with your hand and express one wish. Usually the wish that always comes true is that you come back at least one more I’m the beautiful and unforgettable city of Split
Grgur Ninski Statue

5. The most interesting little Street in the Split is called “Let me pass”, and the curiosity is the fact that only one person can pass.

Street called “Let me pass”

6. Remember that the Imperial Palace has four different kind of gates: the golden, the silver, the iron, the brass gate. If you have time you should visit carefully every single corner of this incredible Palace.

Diocletian and his decision to build his villa there make this city special and it’s one one of the world’s UNESCO heritages. It needs to be preserved for the generations to come.

The incredible thing about city of Split is the fact that the whole center and the Diocletian Palace is pedestrian. No cars or motorcycles are allowed. It seems like paradise on earth where you can run free and safe with your little children enjoying the benefits of Split’s golden sun. Come and visit it. You’ll fall in love at first sight.