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Diocletian’s Palace – heart of Split

 

Diocletian’s Palace is an ancient palace built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century. Today it forms about half the old town of Split, Croatia. While it is referred to as a “palace” because of its intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, the term can be misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress: about half of it was for Diocletian’s personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison.

Palace is one of the best-preserved monuments of the Roman architecture in the world. It is a rectangular building (approximately 215 x 180 meters) with four large towers at the corners, doors on each of the four sides and four small towers on the walls.

Nowadays, during the day you can often hear music in the palace. But in the evenings the palace is very attractive.

When the night falls, the marble and granite columns, topped by Corinthian capitals, are illuminated by colourful garlands, and the interiors are becoming a beautiful scene, where actors in Roman togas are performing with their solemn voices, echoing under the arches of this ancient palace.

Cathedral of Saint Domnius

Among the European cathedrals, the one in Split is in the oldest building. The Mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Inside the cathedral, at the end of the second millennium, the history reconciles ancient pagan, Christian Medieval and modern heritage. Mausoleum of the Emperor – the persecutor of Christians becomes a cathedral in the 7th century.

The Golden Gate

Porta septemtrionalis is their Roman name. Emperor Diocletian walked through them as he entered the Palace on the 1st of June 305. They were built in the shape of a rectangle, with double doors, as part of the defensive military tactics.

The Silver Gate

Porta Orientalis is their Roman name. These gates were used to enter the palace from the east towards the west, through the main street, decumanus, all the way to the Iron Gate and to Pjaca, the central city square.

The Iron Gate

Their original, Roman name was porta occidentalis. They are one of the four through which life flowed during all 17 centuries of the history of Split. From the very first day that they were opened, they continued to witness all the changes the city went through from the Roman times, through the middle ages till today.

The Brass Gate

Porta meridionalis is their Roman name. As the gate which, under some assumptions of the original state of the south facade of the Diocletian palace. The sea mourned, differs completely to the other three. Modest in size, but also different in its function as it leads through the Substructures directly to the sea

Vestibule

From the outside rectangular, and from the inside circular ground plan of this old imperial court, Vestibule leaves a monumental impression even to this day. And how fascinating was it in its original entirety: semicircular niches with statues and a large cupola with colourful glittery mosaic. The vestibule was used to enter the residential part of the palace.

Jupiter Temple Of Jupiter

Rectangular in its floor plan the temple served to celebrate the Jupiter’s cult. It lies on an elevated podium, with a six-column porch in front of it.

Peristyle

Peristyle, as the central square of the Palace, intended for Emperor Diocletian celebrated as the living son of Jupiter, finds its place among many temples. The Emperor would appear under the architrave of the central part of Protyron.

Substructures

The Diocletian Palace Substructures represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of their kind in the world. In many ways, they are responsible for the reason the historical core of Split was in 1979 included on the UNESCO’S World Heritage list. In the Roman times, their function was to elevate the Emperor’s chambers on the floor above, but they were also the storage area for the Palace.

 

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