Split and Diocletian’s Palace, May 12, 2018
In Split our visit was primarily centered on Diocletian’s Palace. We entered through the Silver Gate
and walked to the Peristyle (main) Square where Anna, our local guide, related stories from the centuries about the Palace and its creator.
Diocletian’s Palace was built for the Roman Emperor at the turn of the 4th century AD. Today it forms about half the old town of Split. 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.
We walked through the Palace streets to and through the Golden Gate to see the statue of Bishop Gregory of Nin, who tried to convince the Vatican to allow sermons during Mass to be said in Croatian. It’s tradition to rub his toe for good luck.
We returned the way we came to make our way back to the Peristyle. As we walked along Anna told us that the part of the Palace we were passing through was used for living quarters for Diocletian’s garrison and others. At times over 9,000 people lived in the Palace. Today it still provides apartments to those “lucky” enough to live there. Here are a couple of shots of the area.
A visit to the Cathedral of Saint Domnius was next. The Cathedral is formed from the Imperial Roman mausoleum where Diocletian was interred along with a bell tower. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the bell tower to Saint Domnius. Together they form the Cathedral of St. Domnius.
The Cathedral was consecrated at the turn of the 7th century AD and is regarded as the oldest Catholic Cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure (the bell tower dates from the 12th century). The Cathedral itself, built in 305 AD, was converted into its present form from Diocletian’s mausoleum.
Here are a few shots outside . . .
. . . and a few I was fortunate to snap inside.
I find doors interesting and I managed to take this of the doors of the Cathedral.
Diocletian brought 13 black granite sphinx from Egypt to adorn his palace. Only four survive, including this one found lounging in the Peristyle.
Not to be missed are the cellars (Podrumi). They represent one of the best preserved ancient complexes of their kind in the world. 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. Being structurally a replica of the chambers above, they enable a faithful reconstruction of the way the Emperor’s chambers looked when construction was completed.
The cellars are also a source of commerce and enjoy tremendous foot traffic.
And, before we knew it our visit to the Palace was over and we were outside on the Riva, the stone walkway bordering the southern Palace wall and harbor.
Once there, Anna stopped at a sculpture of Old Town Split and the Palace to briefly point out a few last minute features of that outstanding place.
We then walked along the Riva before returning to Le Lyrial. At the end of the Riva is a lovely fountain. The entire length of the Riva is populated with awning covered restaurants that looked very inviting.
Our visit to Split was over and we were sailing for Dubrovnik. Goodbye Split.