Split

It all started 1.700 years ago

DIOCLETIAN'S PALACE

is one of the best preserved monuments of Roman architecture in the world. The Emperor’s palace was constructed as a combination of a luxury villa-summer residence and a Roman army camp, divided into four parts by two main streets. The southern part of the Palace was intended for the Emperor, his apartments and the corresponding state and religious ceremonials, while the northern part was intended for the Emperor’s guards. The palace is a rectangular building with four large towers (Golden, Silver, Iron and Brass gates) flanking its edges and four smaller towers on the walls. Over the centuries, the residents of the palace, and then the people of Split, have adapted the space for their own needs, which has led to a dramatic change to the buildings in the interior and the outer walls with the towers, but the outline of the Emperor’s palace are still very much visible.

THE BASEMENTS OF DIOCLETIAN'S PALACE

represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of this type in the world. During the Roman ages, they served the purpose of elevating the Emperor’s apartments on the upper floor, but were also used as a storage area for the Palace. Today, they are accessed through Porta Aenea, from the Riva, or by using a staircase from the Perystile.

The basements are still full of life. They are regularly used to house exhibitions of paintings and sculptures, for theatre plays, fairs and many other social and cultural events.

THE CATHEDRAL OF SAINT DOMNIUS

The building that is today the Split cathedral was built during the 4th century as a mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian and is the world’s oldest cathedral. Today, the cathedral is first and foremost a liturgical place whose 1,000-year history is best reflected by Holy Mass celebrated every Sunday and the renewed splendour of the procession held for the festivities of the patron saint of Split, St. Domnius. The most important part of the cathedral are the doors constructed in 1214 by Split’s own Andrija Buvina, who carved 28 scenes from the life of Jesus in walnut wood.

THE BELL TOWER OF THE CATHEDRAL (57 m)

is the most authentic Dalmatian Medieval construction, initiated in the 13th century. At the turn of the 20th century, the bell tower underwent extensive renovations and was somewhat changed. Today, you can climb the steps leading to the top of the bell tower, which boasts a spectacular view of the entire city of Split.

THE VESTIBULE

The old imperial vestibule still looks monumental. The Vestibule was used to enter the residential part of the palace from the Peristyle. South-east of the Vestibule, there is a Medieval quarter, which boasts the oldest early Romanesque house from the 10th century. On the other end of the square, in which used to be the church of Saint Andrew constructed in the 7th century on the location of former imperial apartments, you can find the Ethnographic Museum.

THE TEMPLE OF JUPITER

A temple dedicated to the king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and Diocletian’s patron deity. During late antiquity and the Middle Ages, the temple was converted into a baptistery dedicated to St. John the Baptist, while the crypt was dedicated to St. Thomas.

One of the tablets depicts a Croatian king, which makes for the earliest depiction of a European king in early Medieval stone sculpture. Today, the Baptistery is dominated by the Art Nouveau sculpture of St. John the Baptist made by Ivan Meštrović. In front of it there is one of the twelve granite sphinxes which Diocletian brought back from Egypt.

THE PERISTIL

is the central square of the Palace; it is located in the part which formerly housed several temples. It was intended for Emperor Diocletian, who was celebrated as the son of Jupiter. The Emperor would appear under the arch arch of the central part of the protirone, his subjects would approach him, kneel down to kiss the hem of his crimson robe or fall at his feet. The red colour of the granite columns emphasizes the ceremonial function. Since the time of Emperor Diocletian, crimson has been the colour of the Emperor. With the construction of a new city square with a town hall (Placa) in the 13th/14th century, the Peristyle became a religious centre. Today, it is closed on the west by palaces of Split’s noble families of Grisogono, Cipci and Skočibušić, which lean against its authentic colonnades and arches. Thanks to their Renaissance and Gothic style, they are monuments unto themselves. Thanks to its unique beauty and extraordinary acoustic properties, the Perystile has become an ideal theatre scene and stage housing a rich city life. Enjoying coffee on the steps surrounding it is a unique experience, one of the closest contacts of the contemporary man with the ancient heritage, because the Perystile is watched over and protected by a 3,500-year-old sphinx.